Punjab Kings turned the tables on favourites Kolkata Knight Riders at a thrilling IPL 2021 match at the Dubai International Stadium this evening. Gulf News readers joined our experts to take us through a battle between teams with contrasting styles of cricket.
Full scorecard here
Match summary: KL Rahul's assault guides Punjab Kings to five-wicket win
By A.K.S. Satish, Assistant Editor
Dubai: KL Rahul's calculated innings guided Punjab Kings to a five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
The skipper, who reclaimed the Orange Cap for the leading scorers, paced his innings to perfection to keep the Punjab Kings in the running for the play-off spot in the Indian Premier League Season 14.
Undeterred by wickets falling at the other end, Rahul held one end up on a wicket that was increasingly getting difficult for new batsmen to play their shots. Rahul finally fell when his team needed just four runs off five balls.
The return of Mayank Agarwal gave the Punjab batting more stability and the opener took the pressure away from Rahul by playing big shots in the V. Agarwal’s sensible knock of 40 ended when trying to force past Eoin Morgan off the miserly Varun Chakravarthy.
Mid-match summary: Punjab peg back Knight Riders to give themselves a chance
By A.K.S. Satish, Assistant Editor
Dubai: Venkatesh Iyer showcased his sublime skills for Kolkata Knight Riders before Punjab pacers pulled the Knight Riders to an under-par 165 for seven in the Indian Premier League match at the Dubai International Stadium.
After Arshdeep Singh gave the breakthorough, the left-handed opener and Rahul Tripathi set the platform for Kolkata to push their total beyond 180-run mark with a 72-run partnership off 55 balls, eschewing all risks and only punishing the loose balls. Iyer completed his second half-century in the IPL.
Ravi Bishnoi dismissed both the set batsmen and when Arshdeep again struck to end Nitesh Rana’s cameo in the 18th over, the Kolkata batting began to lose its steam in the final overs.
The Punjab batsmen will now aim to carry that confidence to chase an achievable target. The inclusion of debutant Tamil Nadu batsman Shahrukh Khan must have been the antidote to the venomous Varun Chakravarthy.
By AK Satish, Assistant Editor
Punjab Kings, in a desperate battle to keep their play-off hopes alive, suffered a major setback on the eve of the match against Kolkata Knight Riders when 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle announced that he is withdrawing from the Indian Premier League Season 14 due to bubble fatigue.
Already struggling to cope with a middle order crisis, Gayle’s pullout must have compounded Punjab’s woes, especially in a must-win tie against Kolkata. It’s not just the batting that should be concern for skipper KL Rahul, even the bowling and fielding need to be ironed out.
Will he have the time to do it? Not really, especially when the season is coming towards the home stretch in terms of league games.
On the other hand, Eoin Morgan’s Knights are marching ahead in full steam and a victory in today’s game will only enhance their play-off chances. The bowling department is working like a mean machine running through the opponents, while the openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer land the first punch in contrasting styles on the rival bowling attack, from which the likes of Rahul Tripathi, Morgan, Andre Russell build their innings on. Morgan and Dinesh Karthik have been quiet so far in the tournament, which could change today.