Knight's tale: Kings restricted to 170/9 as Umesh bags 4
Fit-again Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pacer Umesh Yadav started his Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a high by taking four crucial wickets to restrict Kings XI Punjab to 170/9 at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
Yadav returned figures of 4/33 with a stellar 18th over where he took three wickets in the space of four balls to send set David Miller (28; 19b 2x4 2x6), Wriddhiman Saha (25 (17b 2x4 2x6) and Axar Patel (0) back in the hut.
Earlier, he took the wicket of visiting captain Glenn Maxwell 25 (14b 3x4 1x6) also.
There were two 50-run partnerships for the visitors -- between Manan Vohra (28; 19b 4x4 1x6) and Hashim Amla (25; 27b, 4x4, 0x6) and Saha and Miller -- but none of the batsmen could convert their starts.
Smarting from a defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians in their last game, KKR were bolstered by the return of Umesh while New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme was pencilled in place injured Australian opener Chris Lynn. Umesh replaced Ankit Rajpoot.
Kuldeep Yadav was also dropped with leg-spinner Piyush Chawla replacing the young chinaman bowler.
Kings XI, coming into the tie after a resounding eight-wicket against Royal Challengers Bangalore, made one change with India pacer Ishant Sharma coming in place of T. Natarajan.
The away side were off to a flying start with openers Manan Vohra (28) and Hashim Amla (25) milking the likes of Trent Boult and Umesh for seven fours and a six.
Vohra spoilt Umesh's return to the side, tonking the in-form India pacer for a six in front of square with a pull.
The Punjab batsman was dropped in the third over by West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine who grassed an easy take off Boult's bowling at third man. Amla played second fiddle, dispatching poor deliveries from Boult and Chris Woakes to the fence. Just when the pair looked good for a decent opening wicket stand, Chawla — in his very first ball — broke their 53-run association with a googly that went through Vohra's defence.
After the Powerplay, Kings XI were 57/1.
Marcus Stoinis (9;12b 1x4 0x6) did not last long, Narine making amends for his dropped catch with a back of a length delivery which the Australian dragged onto his stumps trying to cut.
Grandhomme was introduced in the 12th over and after bowling three straight dot balls in his first game since being replaced by suspended Andre Russell in the KKR squad, the Kiwi sent the set Amla back in the hut.
Trying to whip a delivery outside off stump down the leg side, Amla top-edged to Gautam Gambhir at extra cover for an easy catch. Umesh then shaved off the visitors' formidable middle order, taking the wickets of Maxwell, Miller, Saha and Axar Patel in his third and fourth spell. Earlier, Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor sent the crowd into raptures with her sizzling dance numbers while singer Monali Thakur performed her peppy hits to set the stage on fire at the Indian Premier League (IPL) extravaganza ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) first home game at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday. In front of a half-full stadium with the match one-and-half hours away from the start, Shraddha, turned on the heat in the final segment of the 21-minute programme, dancing to her hit numbers. Monali, who hails from the city, crooned a number of hits including "Moh Moh ke Dhaage", "Tune Mari Entriyaan" and the title track of Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya which drew the loudest cheers.
Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Kings XI: 170/9 (Miller 28, Vohra 28).
KKR: Umesh 4/33.