Robin Uthappa helps KKR cruise past Kings XI

Robin Uthappa top-scored as Kolkata Knight Riders made short work of Kings XI Punjab's total of 138, winning the match 17 balls to spare and six wickets in hand.

Robin Uthappa was KKR's knight in shining armour as his fifty helped the team beat Kings XI by six wickets.   -  PTI

The opening act of the Gautam Gambhir-Robin Uthappa show continued its successful run in the season, helping Kolkata Knight Riders register its third win of the season with a six-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab here on Tuesday.

It was battle of of big bats but, chasing a below-par 139-run target, KKR cruised with an 83-run partnership for the first wicket. That set the template and by the time Uthappa (53) and Gambhir (34) were gone, there was little left for the rest of the batsmen to do other than finish off the game, which they duly did in 17.1 overs. The duo smashed every bowler to all corners of the field. Most of the shots were impeccable, controlled and power-packed as KXIP captain David Miller ran out of bowling options.

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With a boundary in every over till Uthappa fell for the first wicket -- misreading the turn and caught plumb in front by Pradeep Sahu -- KKR raced to 93 in 10 overs, effectively sealing the game. Gambhir followed, caught at midwicket by a brilliantly running, diving Glenn Maxwell. That, however, was to be the only high point for KXIP in the second innings. Despite a couple of wickets in the middle and a slump in the scoring, the KKR openers had done enough for their team. Poor fielding by KXIP did not help.

Kings XI batters fail

Earlier KXIP faltered with the bat yet again. Shaun Marsh finally came good for the host, scoring an unbeaten 56, but the rest of its big names didn't. KXIP, relying too much on its opening pair of Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra, couldn't find the men to step up once the duo fell early.

Gambhir, opting to field, wanted Morkel to open the bowling from one end but was denied by the umpires after having initially decided to begin from the other end. That meant Morkel had to wait till the fourth over to get his way and was immediately rewarded with Manan Vohra, the match-winner in the previous game against Pune, sweeping straight to Shakib Al Hasan at midwicket. That started a slide from which KXIP didn't recover.

Glenn Maxwell, who helped the team to a tricky win in the previous game, failed while captain David Miller's poor form continued, leaving the lower order too much to do. In fact, KXIP should be thankful to Gambhir for throwing the ball to Andre Russell in the last over of the innings – the Jamaican went for 18 runs in his only over, including a six each from Marsh and Kyle Abbott, pushing the total up to a respectable level.

Gambhir kept changing his bowlers and kept reaping the dividends, picking up wickets every time Marsh tried to accelerate. It was a battle of big bats that just didn't materialise.