KKR holds off KXIP, wins by seven runs

Batting first, KKR banked on a 101-run partnership between Gambhir (54) and Uthappa (70) to post 164 for three. Then, Andre Russell's four-wicket haul foiled Glenn Maxwell's clinical onslaught and ensured KKR's sixth win of the tournament.

Andre Russell hampered the Kings XI Punjab chase, picking four wickets.   -  SPORTZPICS/BCCI

Kolkata Knight Riders could not have asked for a sweeter homecoming. Its accomplished openers, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, struck superb half-centuries and contributed in KKR's thrilling seven-run win over Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.

Batting first, KKR banked on a 101-run partnership between Gambhir (54) and Uthappa (70) to post 164 for three. Then, Andre Russell's four-wicket haul foiled Glenn Maxwell's clinical onslaught and ensured KKR's sixth win of the tournament, which took them to the top of the table.

>SCORECARD AND BALL-BY-BALL DETAILS

The Gambhir-Uthappa stand was marked by control and execution. Gambhir, in particular, was impressive in placing the ball well against the KXIP pacers. The duo put on a 50-plus stand for the fifth time this season and became the only pair to do so in two seasons of the IPL. They also went on to achieve their first century stand of this year.

Gambhir, who hammered six spectacular fours and pulled Swapnil Singh for a massive six, was run out in the 14th over when Maxwell's throw disturbed the stumps at the non-striker's end.

>DAY 26 IN PICTURES

Uthappa, who was dropped immediately after scoring his third half-century, took a while before showcasing his fire power. He struck six fours and two sixes. A terrible mix-up with Yusuf Pathan resulted in Uthappa's end in the 17th over.

For KXIP, young pacer Sandeep bowled with pin-point accuracy to restrict the KKR batsmen in the death overs. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel made an impact with his subtle variety.

The touring side's reply was below-par. It lost three wickets for just 13 runs on board with Russell scalping two. Wriddhiman Saha (24) tried to rescue his team before departing in the ninth over and denting KXIP's progress.

Nevertheless, Maxwell was not to be cowed down by the adversities. The Aussie, who had shown glimpses of form against Mumbai Indians last week, butchered the KKR attack to revive hopes in the KXIP camp.

Maxwell clubbed six fours and four mighty sixes in his awe-inspiring 42-ball 68 before being adjudged LBW off Piyush Chawla. Axar and Gurkeerat tried their best with the bat but could not achieve what would have been a memorable win for KXIP.

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