Sunil Narine shone with the ball. Andre Russell did an Andre Russell with the willow. Still, its poor record in the PowerPlay continued to haunt Kolkata Knight Riders as it faced a crushing defeat against Lucknow Super Giants on Saturday night.
The 75-run victory at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium meant the Super Giants was catapulted to the top of the table while the Knight Riders suffered a near-fatal blow to their Indian Premier League campaign.
Entering the game with the worst batting PowerPlay record, KKR would have hoped for its top-three to at least survive the first six overs in quest of a target of 177. But the batters wilted against the onslaught of the Super Giants’ pace quartet.
Mohsin Khan, Dushmantha Chameera and Jason Holder were too hot to handle up front. Left-armer Mohsin started off with a wicket-maiden to set the tone. Chameera then rattled Shreyas Iyer with the short-ball ploy and Holder repeated the same tactic to see the back of Aaron Finch to leave KKR reeling at 25 for three at the end of the PowerPlay.
When Avesh Khan, the fourth pacer, forced Nitish Rana to play on to the stumps in the next over, the fate of the game was all but sealed. Then came the Russell assault, which gave 17,000-strong crowd a glimmer of hope.
But his five sixes – including three in a Holder over – were far from enough to get KKR even close to the target. When a diving Holder caught a top-edge off Russell’s blade running in from deep fine-leg off Avesh in the 13th over, the remaining proceedings were a mere formality.
Besides the batting PowerPlay, even the bowling PowerPlay turned out to be detrimental to KKR.
When captain K.L. Rahul was run out without facing a ball in the opening over courtesy a direct hit by Shreyas Iyer, KKR, without the in-form Umesh Yadav, would have fancied its chances.
But Quinton de Kock – who was guilty of sending Rahul back after calling for a quick single – didn’t let the setback affect him. Everything that was pitched short to him was dispatched either through or over the arc between square-leg and mid-wicket.
Deepak Hooda, meanwhile, was scintillating with his cover drives. Despite scoring just two runs in the opening over, Super Giants had raced to 66 for one at the end of the PowerPlay.
The Knight Riders then pulled things back, conceding just 76 runs in the next 12 overs. But Marcus Stoinis and Jason Holder tonked five sixes in Shivam Mavi’s penultimate over to tilt the balance in Super Giants’ favour.