IPL: Tewatia, Mohit keep Kings XI alive
A sensational display of end-overs bowling from Mohit Sharma and strangulation by leg-spin from Rahul Tewatia, playing his first game this season, helped apply the choke on Kolkata Knight Riders. By securing one of three wins they needed, Kings XI lived to fight another day.
In what was an engaging last five overs off which Knight Riders needed just 50, Mohit brought out all his slower variations – the knuckleball, back-of-the-hand slower deliveries and offcutters – and delivered them with precision to deny Chris Lynn, who wiped out half of Knight Riders’ 168-run target off just 52 balls, and Manish Pandey.
The pair’s dismissal off successive deliveries off the 18th over helped close out a tight game, with the Sharmas – Mohit and Sandeep – defending 29 off the 12 deliveries to ensure three playoff spots were still up for grabs.
Kings XI made four changes, two of those being forced. One of them – Hashim Amla – had just smashed a 60-ball 104, his second century of the season, in the previous game. Even so, the rest of the batsmen stuttered as they finished with just 189 when they should’ve posted 210. Now, without Amla, who along with David Miller was unavailable because of national duty, Kings XI needed a robust beginning from the openers.
Manan Vohra, who had earlier in the tournament shunted up and down the order to accommodate both Shaun Marsh and Martin Guptill, sparkled briefly, but his dismissal brought about a restrained approach. The first six overs fetched just 41 for the loss of the openers. Knight Riders had begun well.
On a surface where the ball was deviating just about enough to keep the medium-pacers interested, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme bowled six overs in tandem, conceding just 22 off the first four immediately after the Powerplay. Kings XI limped to 63 for 3 in the first half.
They went 17 deliveries without a boundary after Shaun Marsh’s dismissal in the ninth over, before Maxwell cut loose – hitting de Grandhomme for two successive sixes off legitimate deliveries to trigger a surge. Maxwell’s picking of lengths was impressive as he played the pull effectively against the pacers. Wriddhiman Saha, on 10 off 17 at one stage, pinched crucial boundaries to move to a run-a-ball 26. At 115 for 3 with five to play, Kings XI needed big back five overs. But they were denied.
Kuldeep Yadav, returning in place of Piyush Chawla, was rewarded for his willingness to flight the ball as he had Maxwell caught at wide long-off in an attempt to hit him for a third successive six. In his next over, he had Saha stumped after being biffed across the line one ball earlier. A cameo from Tewatia lifted them to 167, not underwhelming but not match-winning either. (ESPNCricinfo)