Knights restrict Kings to 149/6 at Eden

Kolkata, April 26 (IANS) Coming up with a splendid bowling performance, holders Kolkata Knight Riders restricted Kings XI Punjab to 149/6 in their crucial Indian Premier League match at the Eden Gardens here Friday.

A late unbeaten cameo by Gurkeerat Singh (28; 15b 2x4 2x6) enabled the visitors to reach a respectable total.

Mannan Vohra (31; 21b 3x4 1x6) top scored for the Kings, while allrounder Jacques Kallis returned enviable figures (2-14) with the ball for the Knights.

Opting to bat, Kings XI Punjab got off to a solid start, scoring 45 runs in the first six overs. Opener Mandeep Singh, the leading run-scorer for his side, played some good shots as skipper Adam Gilchrist gave him good company.

The partnership, though, was broken in very next over, when Singh, (25; 20b 5x4) trying to flick the ball, lobbed it straight to Eoin Morgan at mid-wicket off Jacques Kallis. Meanwhile Gilchrist (27; 27b 4x4), who averaged an embarrassing 9.5 coming in to this match, looked good, but in his attempt to up the ante holed one to the deep. The bowler was Rajat Bhatia.

The arrival of David Hussey brought some urgency to the Kings' batting as the Australian joined hands with Vohra to speed up the run rate.

Vohra (31; 21b 3x4 1x6), hit some exquisite strokes, including a four and a six off medium-pacer Laxmipathy Balaji, but got snapped up in the deep trying another big hit.

The Kolkata bowlers, especially Kallis, kept a tight leash on the Punjab batsmen, not giving them much opportunity to hit boundaries.

Punjab, trying to rev up the scoring rate in the final overs, suffered a big jolt when the exciting David Miller (10; 8b 1x6) was castled by young leggie Sarabjit Ladda in the 15th over. The score was 109.

With just 126 on the board after the 17 thover, the Kings had pinned hope on Hussey (21; 20b 1x4) to take them to a sizeable total. But the Australian attempted to hit Kallis out of the ground and ended up caught in the deep.

Riding on Gurkeerat Singh's late burst, the visitors scored 18 runs in last over to help themselves to a decent total.

Tweaker Sunil Narine, who troubled the batsmen throughout, remained wicketless, giving just 22 runs off his four overs.

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