Two massive wickets early on by Sandeep Warrier and an unbeaten half-century by Shubman Gill helped Kolkata Knight Riders get through their first hurdle in the race of Playoff spot. Opting to bowl first, Kolkata were at the receiving end of a scathing attack from Sam Curran and conceded 183, a few runs more than what they would have liked. Kolkata, though, were polished in the run-chase, as Gill remained unbeaten on 65 to take his side home. Here are some of the best moments from the match.
Mandeep's perfect anticipation and back-foot six
This season of the IPL has seen some outrageous power hitting from Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and witnessed a display of panache from KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and David Warner. Yet, Mandeep Singh, who has flown under the radar at Kings XI Punjab, perhaps played the shot of the season when he rocked onto his back-foot and punched Piyush Chawla for a six down the ground.
Piyush Chawla was bowling short to avoid Mandeep from targeting the short, straight boundaries at Mohali. The Kings XI Punjab batsman, though, had other ideas. He anticipated the back of a length googly and went deep into his crease, ready for the length and variation. Chawla bowled exactly what Mandeep was expecting and he punched the leg-spinner down the ground with a mere extension of his arms. The ball went the distance and hit the sightscreen.
Dinesh Karthik's rare display of anger
Dinesh Karthik usually has a calm demeanor but at Mohali on Friday, the other side of Karthik, a rare one, was on display as he vented out his anger on the KKR players during the first strategic time-out after Kolkata Knight Riders opted to bowl first. Piyush Chawla had conceded 14 in his opening over and after eight decent overs, Kings XI had made 68/2 when a strategic time-out was called.
Kolkata had reasons to be happy given the early breakthroughs Sandeep Warrier had provided but Karthik seemed very displeased with his teammates. He was seen flaying his arms about and having an animated conversation in the team huddle during the break. Jacques Kallis was also present in the huddle but KKR captain was seen doing most of the talking, seemingly lashing out at his teammates.
He later revealed in the post-match presentation ceremony that he wasn't happy with his teammates' body language.
"I wasn't happy with the bowlers and fielders, and their body language. It was the kind of things I didn't expect from them. I'm not too much into the results, I like to keep the focus on the process. But I wasn't too happy with what was happening, so I thought I should let the boys know what I felt.
“I think it's a bit rare, not too many people have seen it (me angry). At the end of the day, I had to be true to myself. If I feel I should show it to the boys, and it gets the best out of them, then maybe.”
"If I feel I need to be angry to get the best out of the boys, then maybe," Karthik concluded.
Sam Curran takes on Harry Gurney
Sam Curran came into this match on the back of five successive single-digit scores. Bought for a whopping Rs 7.2 crore, the England all-rounder had to justify his exorbitant price tag and did just that at Mohali to resurrect Kings XI's nosediving innings.
Scoring 33 off 18 before the last over of the innings, Curran played his cameo role to perfection but Kings XI were still hovering around the 160-run mark against a power packed Knight Riders' attack. They needed a strong finish and Curran decided to target Harry Gurney.
The left-arm seamer was thumped through long-off for four off the third ball of the final over after two successive doubles off the first two balls. The left-hander then picked up the slower variation and deposited the ball over the mid-wicket ropes for a maximum. Two well-executed cheeky shots through fine-leg gave Curran 22 from the over and he raced to his maiden IPL half-century off 23 balls.
Chris Lynn gives Kolkata the ideal start
Kolkata Knight Riders had an average total to chase down at Mohali but needed a strong start to ease things for Andre Russell in the end. Chris Lynn gave them just that by selectively targeting his bowlers and scoring 46 runs in the first six overs of the run-chase.
Lynn was cautious against Mohammad Shami who was getting the ball to zip off the wicket but targetted the other end where Arshdeep Singh was bowling too full. After a six off the young left-arm seamer in the second over of the innings, Lynn smashed Arshdeep for a hat-trick of boundaries in the fourth over.
He then took on Ravichandran Ashwin and Andrew Tye and made 22 in his last eight balls with two fours and two sixes before top-edging a short ball from Tye to deep mid-wicket. The powerplay was maximised with Lynn scoring 46 of the 62 runs scored. He was dismissed off the final ball of the powerplay overs but had done his job for the night.
Mayank drops Russell, helps the ball past the boundary ropes
Russell was just starting to hit his straps at Mohali when Andrew Tye managed to nail a yorker on off-stump. Going deep into the crease and getting underneath the ball, the West Indian slammed Tye straight to long-off where Mayank Agarwal was manning the fence.
A usually safe catcher, the Kings XI Punjab batsman went back close to the ropes and timed his jump to perfection but fluffed the catch. To add insult to injury, he parried the ball over the ropes while attempting the catch. Dropping Russell is criminal, particularly with Kings XI defending an average score, but Mayank had Shami to thank to who dismissed him later on with just four more runs added to Russell's score.