Gautam Gambhir won the toss against Kings XI Punjab in our first home game of this year’s IPL and had no hesitation in bowling first. We made three changes to the team with Colin de Grandhomme, Piyush Chawla and Umesh Yadav all coming in the team to replace injured Chris Lynn, Kuldeep Yadav and Ankit Rakpoot respectively.
Steady start from the Kings:
The Kings openers Hashim Amla and Manan Vohra were watchful in the opening overs of the innings and started playing their shots after getting their eyes in. They raced away to 50 in 5 overs with Vohra and Amla looking comfortable. But Piyush Chawla struck on his first ball as he foxed Vohra with a googly. One-down Marcus Stoinis was looking to settle down but Sunil Narine removed him for 9. At the end of 10 overs, KXIP were 95/2 with Amla and Maxwell on the crease.
Kings slide in the end:
KXIP suffered more when Amla top-edged one to Gambhir off Colin de Grandhomme’s bowling and in the next over, Glenn Maxwell was removed by Umesh Yadav. Saha and Miller then capitalized and added some quick runs in no time. They cleared the boundary with complete ease as we looked to break the partnership. But then came the big slide as the visitors lost wickets in a jiffy. From 155/5 they ended up on 170/9 in their 20 overs. Umesh Yadav picked up 4/33 in his 4 overs with Chris Woakes ending up with 2/30.
A quickfire onslaught:
A surprise awaited all of us as Sunil Narine accompanied Gautam Gambhir as an opener. The experiment paid off as the duo scored 31 in the first 3 overs. The pinch-hitter exploded further as he smashed every bowler around the park. Gambhir played a sensible innings at the other end as he picked up the gaps with perfection in the Powerplay overs. Narine’s cameo ended when Varun Aaron dismissed him on 37 (in 18 balls). But there was no stopping Gambhir today as he continued to toy with the Kings bowling. At the end of 6 overs, we were 76 for 1 with Uthappa just arriving at the crease. Flow of runs did not stop in the coming overs but we lost Uthappa on the last ball of 10th over with score reading 116/2.
Too easy in the end:
In-form Manish Pandey was next to arrive at the crease as Gambhir reached his 33rd IPL fifty. He now holds the record of scoring the joint-most fifties in IPL (with David Warner). Gambhir, in his unbeaten knock of 72, showed true class in his knock with immaculate timing and precision. Pandey finished off things in style as he struck Stoinis for a six in the long-on region. This was our 8th consecutive win over Kings XI Punjab from 2014, which is also the joint-highest winning streak for any team in the IPL. The chants of 'KorboLorboJeetbo' and 'KKR' were heard loud around Eden and it was indeed a great start to our home matches.