Umesh, the shining Knight
|Source: The Hitavada Date: 14 Apr 2017 09:52:34|
THE rich form that kept him the most sought-after Indian pacer in the last international season continued for Vidarbha lad Umesh Yadav as he made a brilliant comeback to Kolkata Knight Riders, helping them to an eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab.
The narrow loss against Mumbai Indians for the rich form of Kings XI Punjab made KKR the second-best at their home in the Eden Gardens before the start.
It looked the story till the first ten overs in the Kings innings. At 95 for 2 with skipper Glenn Maxwell at crease Punjab were looking for a 200-plus target. And then Umesh was introduced into the attack.
The pacer first had the dangerous Maxwell caught behind and then struck thrice in his fourth over as Punjab were stopped at 170 for 9.
The poor work in field by Kolkata was compensated by Umesh and other bowlers. And the good work was further stretched with the promotion of Sunil Narine as the opener.
The West Indian spinner smacked a whirlwind 37 off just 18 balls with four boundaries and three sixes to lay a solid foundation for Kolkata in the chase. He dispatched pacer Varun Aaron for two sixes on one over.
By the time Narine was out Kolkata had 76 on the board in just 5.4 overs. All the others needed to do was to carry on with the momentum.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir remained not out on 72 in 49 balls with 11 fours to complete a comfortable chase in 16.3 overs.
Robin Uthappa made 26 in 16 balls while Manish Pandey remained unbeaten on 25 in 16 balls.
Earlier, Yadav, who missed two matches because of a niggle following a hectic Test series against Australia, struck thrice in his fourth over to cover up for another poor display on the field.
KXIP were 95/2 after 10 overs before Umesh dismissed opposition skipper Glenn Maxwell (25 off 14) for his first wicket. The visitors once again stepped up the momentum with Wriddhiman Saha (25 off 17) and David Miller (28 off 19) putting up 57 runs in 32 balls to put their team on course for a total close to 200.
KXIP were going comfortably at 145/4 in 17 overs when Umesh made his presence felt with a flurry of wickets to dismiss Miller and Saha, while Axar Patel (0) became his fourth victim.
Put in, Kings XI Punjab were off to a spectacular start with 10 runs from first over as Manan Vohra (28) and Hashim Amla (25) put on their second successive fifty-plus opening partnership.
Making full use of his reprieve on 17, Vohra took charge on the KKR opening pace duo of Umesh and Trent Boult.
The visitors were 47 for no loss after four overs and were in no mood to relent when Piyush Chawla broke the opening stand when Vohra was bowled after failing to read one that went straight off the re-laid pitch.
Chawla conceded just four runs in the last over of Powerplay as KKR went on to arrest KXIP’s run flow with 14 runs from three overs.
The momentum temporarily shifted in favour of KKR who got a second breakthrough when Marcus Stoinis bottom-edged one to his stumps off Narine.
But poor catching once again hurt their cause and this time part-time wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa failed to take a regulation catch off Maxwell on five.
The miss proved costly as Maxwell hammered Chawla for 6 -4-4 in his next over that yielded 17 runs with 15 off them coming from the Aussie’s blade.
Earlier Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor danced to Bollywood numbers in a 19-minute opening ceremony to mark the start of the first match of the season at Eden Gardens.
The show was a fusion of Bollywood numbers and traditional chhau dance as both the team captains, Gambhir and Maxwell, took the fair play pledge before taking the field.