Kings XI Punjab pip Knight Riders in thriller

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A five-wicket haul from Kolkata Knight Riders spinner Sunil Narine proved in vain as the Kings XI Punjab won Sunday's thrilling Indian Premier League clash at Eden Gardens by two runs.

A five-wicket haul from Kolkata Knight Riders spinner Sunil Narine proved in vain as the Kings XI Punjab won Sunday's thrilling Indian Premier League clash at Eden Gardens by two runs.

West Indian spinner Narine, who opted to play in the IPL rather than represent his country in their ongoing Test series against Australia, landed a string of telling blows and proved entirely economical as the Punjab outfit were restricted to 134 for nine in their 20-over allotment.

Romping to figures of five for 19 from four overs, the 23-year-old displayed maturity beyond his years, employing deceptive flight and clever tweaks in line to keep the opposition batsmen on their toes.

His Man of the Match haul included the big scalps of Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh. The Australian duo managed a mere six runs between them, with Mandeep Singh's 38 and David Hussey's 32 left to prop up an otherwise inadequate innings.

The Knight Riders' reply was a stop-start affair, though the modest nature of their target kept them in the hunt regardless.

At least one of Gautam Gambhir (22), Manvinder Bisla (27) or Manoj Tiwary (20) should have converted a good start into, at least, the proportions reached by Mandeep earlier.

Piyush Chawla, meanwhile, refused to let his side go down without a fight. The talented leg-spinner weighed in with figures of three for 18 to not quite upstage Narine, but all but take the game away from Kolkata.

While Chawla kept the Kings XI Punjab on track, it was a sterling showing from Harmeet Singh that sealed the deal.

Left just nine runs to defend off the final over of the thrilling encounter, the seamer conceded just six. Debabrata Das, Ryan ten Doeschate and later Rajat Bhatia, eager to find the fence, were resigned to singles and the odd two as Harmeet complemented a superb length with a slew of well disguised slower balls.

Sunday's result left both teams on four points, though Kolkata are three places higher than the Kings XI Punjab in the nine-team standings thanks to a superior net run-rate.

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