Narine stars as Maxwell's men smashed in IPL
THE Kolkata Knight Riders have maintained their dominance over Glenn Maxwell's Kings XI Punjab by cruising to an eighth successive win over their IPL rivals.
Maxwell lost the toss and his side was put in to bat. Kolkata looked well set for a decent score when David Miller was dismissed for 28 midway through the 18th over with the score on 5-155.
However, the Kings added just 15 more runs for the loss of four wickets to limp to a sub-par 9-170.
Hashim Amla (25), Manan Vohra (28), Maxwell (25) and Wriddhiman Saha (25) and all got off to good starts but failed to press on for a big score.
The impressive Umesh Yadav (4-33) was the pick of the Knight Riders bowlers along with England paceman Chris Woakes who grabbed 2-30.
Spinner Sunil Narine got the hosts off to a flying start after being promoted to the top of the order, with a punishing 37 off just 18 balls and put on 76 for the opening wicket with Gautum Gambhir.
India star Gambhir advanced to an unbeaten 72 that included 11 fours and tied David Warner's IPL record of 31 half-centuries.
Manish Pandey hit the winning runs with a six over long on, as the Knight Riders cruised to victory with three-and-a-half overs to spare.
"I thought we had a chance with 170, the ball was swinging and seaming," said Maxwell.
"I was not surprised by Narine opening the batting, he has done it in the Big Bash.
"They got away from us and that opening partnership basically took the wind out of us. We will have to regroup for Delhi."
Narine, who only opened because of an injury to Queensland's Chris Lynn, was named man of the match and skipper Gambhir paid tribute to the 28-year-old Trinidadian.
"Narine can hit a big ball, we have a long batting line-up, and so we sent Sunil in at the top. He won't face many balls at No. 9 anyway," Gambhir said.
"Umesh coming back made it easy for us. I need to start trusting Narine with the bat now. He is a quality bowler, and the leader of the attack irrespective of the conditions."