MOHALI: After two satisfying wins against Rising Pune Supergiant and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the start of the campaign, Kings XI Punjab were sent crashing down to earth by Kolkata Knight Riders in their third game.
Sunil Narine combined with the in-form Gautam Gambhir to leave the KXIP bowlers in a state of disarray. On Sunday, Narine who now holds the record for the fastest fifty (15 balls) in IPL history, and Chris Lynn stitched together a 105-run partnership in six overs — the highest score in the Powerplay — as the Kolkata-based franchise registered a six wicket win over RCB.
Inconsistency has plagued KXIP bowlers this year. With Punjab set to host KKR on Tuesday, their bowlers must be suffering nightmares. “It’s all about getting some runs on the board. We are still in the competition which is wonderful. We all watched that (KKR’s openers against RCB) in the dressing room. It was great batting from Narine and Lynn. In T20, that’s what happens, if you play attacking cricket,” said Hashim Amla.
In their last match against Gujarat Lions, the hosts started well as Amla and Shaun Marsh guided them to 189. But Mohit Sharma and Varun Aaron leaked 78 runs as Dwayne Smith and Co ran rampage. Prior to this, Sandeep Sharma and Axar Patel had helped the Mohali side to stay in contention for the playoffs against RCB and Delhi Daredevils.
A week before that Sunrisers Hyderabad hosted Punjab. Ishant Sharma, who replaced the injured T Natarajan, was battered all over the park by Kane Williamson. And who can forget the match against Mumbai Indians, where the lanky pacer was slapped for 58 runs?
“Obviously, we are trying to find consistency. We know that if a team needs to successful, we need to be more consistent. Our bowlers have done well at times. You have to give credit to Gujarat. Defending in Mohali is difficult. The wicket was good. To be honest, I’m not going to be critical about our bowlers and I would like to acknowledge Gujarat for their fine display,” Amla said, after the loss on Sunday.
KXIP are fifth, with 10 points from 11 outings. As for Kolkata, the team did well to bounce back against RCB after back-to-back defeats. The Gautam Gambhir-led side are now second in the table with 16 points from 12 matches. He will hope for Narine and Lynn to deliver again as they look to consolidate their position.