Kolkata hits 245-6 in 31-run IPL win against Punjab


INDORE, India:  Kolkata Knight Riders racked up its biggest total in the Indian Premier League on Saturday and defeated Kings XI Punjab by 31 runs.

Sunil Narine’s blistering 75 off 36 balls and captain Dinesh Karthik’s robust 50 off 23 lifted Kolkata to 245-6 after Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin won the toss and opted to chase on a small ground.

Lokesh Rahul (66) hit his third successive half-century in the tournament but the rest of the Punjab top order fell against Andre Russell (3-41) before Ashwin’s quick 45 took his team to 214-8 at the end.

Kolkata moved to No. 4 with 12 points while third-place Punjab has the same total but a better net run-rate. Punjab also has played a game less than Kolkata’s 12.

Narine capitalized on an early dropped catch when Mujeebur Rahman injured his bowling hand in his second over while attempting a difficult return catch.

The Afghanistan spinner went off for scans. When he returned to the field in the 16th over, he was smashed for two fours and two sixes by Karthik.

Chris Lynn (27) and Narine provided Kolkata a brisk start of 53 off 32 balls before Lynn dragged the ball back onto his stumps while attempting a pull shot off seamer Andrew Tye, who took 4-41.

Narine, who smashed nine boundaries and four sixes, then added 75 quick runs with Robin Uthappa (24) before Tye returned and dismissed both batsmen in the 12th over.

But Mujeeb’s absence due to injury cost Punjab heavily in the middle overs as Karthik and Andre Russell (31) propelled the innings with a 76-run fourth-wicket stand off just 31 balls.

Tye once again got the breakthrough when Russell top-edged a short pitched delivery and Karthik also holed out at long off after hitting five fours and three sixes.

Rahul continued his scintillating form in this year’s IPL by smacking two fours and seven sixes as Punjab’s top order crumbled around him.

Chris Gayle went for 21 as Russell got two wickets off successive deliveries in the sixth over. Russell found a thin edge off Gayle’s mistimed pull and then Mayank Agarwal followed next ball as he holed out in the deep while also attempting a pull shot.

Rahul chopped Narine back onto his stumps while going for a sweep and, when Axar Patel couldn’t clear left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and was caught at long off, Punjab reeled at 119-5 in the 12th over.

Ashwin hit a late 45 off 22 balls which enabled Punjab to cross the 200-run mark before seamer Prasidh Krishna had him leg before in the last over.—AP