Gautam Gambhir scored an unbeaten 66 while Jacques Kallis remained not out on 30 as clinical Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets in an IPL 5 match at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Wednesday. A disciplined bowling and fielding performance helped Kolkata restrict Punjab to just 124 for 7 and then skipper Gambhir led from the front to make sure Kolkata reached the target with 3.3 overs to spare.
Gambhir's match-winning innings included seven fours and one six. Brendon McCullum looked dangerous early on but failed to capitalise on the good start as he fell cheaply to Chawla scoring 15. Chawla also picked up his second wicket four overs later when Manvinder Bisla (11) dragged a delivery on to his stumps.
Soon, Kallis joined the captain in the middle to finish off things and did it in style with a huge six. He stayed unbeaten by scoring 30 off 23 balls. The duo shared an unbeaten 53-run stand as KKR cruised to an easy win.
Earlier, Punjab won the toss and elected to bat, but the home team lost Paul Valthaty in the third over, as Brett Lee made early inroads for Kolkata. Shaun Marsh (33) then joined Adam Gilchrist in the middle, but the latter was forced to leave the field due to a hamstring pull when he was on 28.
After six overs, Punjab were well placed at 45 for 1 with Marsh and Mandeep Singh (6) in the middle. After Gilchrist's exit Punjab struggled to score freely and Mandeep was the second man to fall as he gave away his wicket to Laxmipathy Balaji who had him caught at the third man. Soon he was joined by Marsh in the middle when Lee struck to get him caught behind. Though, Marsh's dismissal in the 14th over, however, turned out to be a little controversial.
Punjab then lost David Hussey (10) immediately in the next over for a poor judgement of a run and to leave the team reeling at 87 for 4 in the 15th over. Punjab failed to get a substantial partnership after that as Dimitri Mascarenhas (9) and Paras Dogra (6) departed in quick succession. Gilchirst returned in the 19th over to try and add some late runs, but by then the Kolkata bowlers had already done the damage. The Punjab skipper clubbed a six in the final over to take his team to 124 and remained unbeaten on 40.
For Kolkata, wily West Indian offspinner Sunil Narine (2 for 24) and Brett Lee (2 for 26) starred with the ball. Laxmipathy Balaji and Rajat Bhatia also picked up a wicket each for the visitors.