IPL

Morgan gets Knight Riders back on track against Kings

By Sports Desk April 26, 2021

Kolkata Knight Riders ended their four-match IPL slump with a comfortable five-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad.

KKR had lost each game since winning their tournament opener but were quickly on top on Monday, given a straightforward chase - led by captain Eoin Morgan (47 not out) and Rahul Tripathi (41) - after limiting the Kings to 123-9.

That total could easily have been far lower as Punjab failed to fire, with Mayank Agarwal their top scorer on an underwhelming 31 off 34.

By the time he departed to Sunil Narine in the 12th over, the Kings had just 60 runs on the board and had already lost three prior wickets - including Chris Gayle, who had previously averaged 47 against the Knight Riders but went for a duck.

Wickets continued to fall apace, but Chris Jordan ensured his side made three figures and then kept going, 30 off 18 keeping Punjab's slim hopes alive.

Those hopes grew when Kolkata made a similarly shaky start, losing three wickets in the first three overs.

But Tripathi survived and a partnership of 66 with Morgan set the stage for a stress-free finale, even with Andre Russell run out for 10.

A 13-run 16th over, including back-to-back Morgan boundaries, brought the finish line into view, with Dinesh Karthik's four then completing the job at 126-5 with 20 balls to spare.

Narine celebrations soon subside

The Knight Riders had not previously had much to savour this season, but Sunil Narine always enjoys himself against the Kings and figures of 2-22 took him to 30 Punjab wickets, the most of any bowler in the IPL.

His quota was finished by the time Jordan threatened a fightback, though, and then the West Indies all-rounder was unable to contribute with the bat as Ravi Bishnoi's outstanding diving catch ended his innings after four balls and no runs.

Morgan makes sure of no momentum swing

This has been a tough tournament for the Knight Riders and they might have feared another difficult outing against the Kings, who had been eight-wicket victors in their previous meeting in October.

But skipper Morgan was a typically steady presence throughout the chase before accelerating late on to pass 7,000 Twenty20 runs and ensure Kolkata retain the upper hand against a side they have now beaten in 13 of their past 16 outings.

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