Kolkata, April 15 (IANS) Kings XI Punjab rallied from a seemingly losing scenario to put it across the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by two runs in a nail-biting Indian Premier League game that swayed from one way to the other at the Eden Gardens here Sunday.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine's splendid effort (5-19) went in vain, as the hosts, cruising at 73/2 in the 12th over in reply to Punjab's 134/9, lost four wickets in quick succession, before braveheart KKR batsman Debabrata Das (35 not out; 23 b, 3x4, 1x6) played a rollicking knock to bring his side within a sniffing distance of victory.
With the 18th over gone, the Knights needed only 13 from the last two overs.
But seasoned campaigner Praveen Kumar conceded only four runs in the penultimate over, and the Knights needed nine from the last. Punjab medium pacer Harmeet Singh, bowling the final over, struck a lethal blow by getting rid of Ryan ten Doeschate to stop the home team at 132/7.
KKR started off on a steady note but lost openers Jacques Kallis (1; 5b) and Gautam Gambhir (22, 13b) in quick succession.
Left arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt got Kallis courtesy a spectacular one handed catch by Paras Dogra, Dimitri Mascarenhas claimed Gambhir with the score at 30.
Only when it looked KKR would run away with the match easily, spinners Piyush Chawla(3-18) and Bhatt (2-24) snapped up three quick wickets between them including the prize scalp of Yusuf Pathan (0) to bring the game alive.
Manoj Tiwary 20 (27b 1x4 0x6) and Manvinder Bisla stitched together 43 and with 62 more to get from 52 balls with eight wickets remaining, KKR seemed to have a tight grip over the match.
However, the King's spin men Bhatt and Chawla had other plans as first Tiwary was trapped by the left armer and later Chawla snared Bisla (27; 25b 1x4 1x6) and Pathan in the 13th over.
The leg spinner came back with his next over to send back Shakib Al Hasan (4,8b) with the score at 88/6 in the 15th over.
With 36 required of the last four overs and only four wickets to go, the KKR dug-out looked nervous. But Das hit some much needed lusty blows to bring the required run rate to manageable proportion. It did not prove to be enough in the end.
With a spinner friendly pitch and Narine (5/19) on the prowl, Punjab laboured to 134/9.
Skipper-keeper Adam Gilchrist (5; 9b) continued to disappoint his fans as he top-edged a Narine delivery with just 16 on the board. The batsman has managed just 59 runs in four outings this season.
Narine struck gold in his second over castling Shaun Marsh(1; 6b), who had played a match winning knock against the Pune Warriors Thursday.
Reeling at 21/2 old warhorse David Hussey (32; 31b) joined in opener Mandeep Singh (38; 34b, 3x, 1x6) adding 52 runs in 46 balls. However, the duo departed in quick succession.
Narine continued to bamboozle the Kings' men snaring Bipul Sharma and Kumar in successive balls and later claimed Harmeet (14; 6b, 3x4,) who denied him a hat trick, in his fourth over.
Rajat Bhatia (4-0-14-2) was the most economical bowler.
A late flourish by the Punjab tail enders fetched 30 runs in the last two overs.
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