After the loss against Gujarat Lions on Sunday, Kings XI Punjab's Hashim Amla said that he was happy to still be in the competition. On Tuesday, though the South African played no part, it remained the same. Punjab came here to win and did so in some style. The home crowd had a major role in the nail biting encounter as the Mohali-based franchise registered a 14-run victory over Gautam Gambhir's Kolkata Knight Riders here at the IS Bindra Stadium. After being put in, this was the perfect chance for Martin Guptill to finally make a mark. He started well as a poor delivery from Kuldeep Yadav was flicked to fine leg for four. Fellow opener Manan Vohra was more attacking with some perfectly timed boundaries. Sunil Narine and Yadav were his victims. But Punjab suffered the first blow in the fifth over as Vohra was caught behind. It wasn't the best of deliveries from Umesh Yadav. Vohra's poor shot selection gave a precious advantage for the visitors. Six balls later, Narine got the better of Guptill to end another disappointing innings for the Kiwi.
Shaun Marsh started in style as Colin de Grandhomme was smashed for back to back boundaries. But that was the best he could do. Chris Woakes dismissed him for 11 runs with a fine delivery as the the 33-year-old Aussie was helpless.In came skipper Glenn Maxwell. He got the first six of the innings for the hosts. The fact that it came in the 12th over shows how good KKR were controlling the game. Maxwell along with Saha enjoyed the best stand as they enjoyed a 71-run partnership for the fourth wicket to steady the ship. Maxwell was in the mood and went for a big shot when he was on 44. But he did not get enough power as Kuldeep Yadav got him. Credit to Woakes who did all the effort with a diving catch to send the Aussie to the stands. Kuldeep struck again two overs later and this time it was Zaha. Noticing an advancing Zaha, he delivered a googly well outside off. But he missed it and it was easy for Uthappa to do the rest. Axar Patel, Swapnil Singh and Rahul Tewatia made sure that the hosts reached a decent total of 168.
KKR started the chase well with Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn doing their part like always. Sandeep Sharma and Matt Henry were at the mercy of Kolkata's explosive duo. But the hosts got a breakthrough in the fifth over. It was Mohit Sharma who rose to the occasion to get the all important wicket of Narine. Lynn, however, was calm as he helped KKR post 61 runs at the end of powerplay. The 9th and 17th overs were crucial for Punjab. Rahul Tewatia had the best returns for Punjab as he got Gambhir and Uthappa in the 9th over to change pace of the game. Manish Pandey who came in tried his best with Lynn to get Kolkata to a decent score but nothing was going their way. Matt Henry who was one of the replacements for the hosts sealed the match with the first two balls of the 17th over. After tricking Pandey with a slow ball, he got the pivotal wicket of danger man Lynn. The momentum was in Punjab's way since then and it was only a matter of time as Glen Maxwell's side wrapped the game to stay in the hunt for playoffs.