He has turned out to be the most unfortunate player of all times. Whether it is being ruled out of the Indian team for his devastating form or the demoralizing loss against KXIP, Gautam Gambhir is really unlucky. He went a little wrong at the toss but his inherent leadership quality proved out to be a master stroke for his team, Kolkata Knight Riders.
After pinning Punjab on the back foot to leave them struggling at 109 for 7, top class spinner Sunil Narine conceded an unbelievable 23 runs in the penultimate over that turned the match classically. The same Sunil Narine had scored a glittering hat trick in his previous over, the first in this seasonal IPL episode. Ironically Manpreet Gony created a whirlwind with his herculean 42 off 18 balls changed the match dramatically, though his batting average in first class cricket seems to be really shabby.
In spite of the unexpected failures of Manvinder Bisla and the ever dependable Jaques Kallis, Gautam Gambhir and Morgan steadied the ship for KKR to forge a century partnership. Gambhir’s brilliant unrendering strokes seemed to slap down the bowling attack of Kings XI Punjab. His jubilant innings comprised of several eye catching boundaries that took the bowlers to the cleaners. Morgan was happy to play the second fiddle although he tried out some typical Indian shots that added glittering feathers to his awesome cap.
But KXIP’s hero, Manpreet Gony’s fiery determined, yet inaccessible spell of 3 overs for just 6 runs and the prized scalp of Gambhir, KKR’s hopes seemed to start dwindling. In the next over, Morgan top-edged a leg glance to hold out to Aussie batsman David Hussey stationed at cover. It seemed that KKR fell down like a pack of cards. It was heart-rending to witness the collapse of KKR with Tiwary and Pathan’s short ball woes continue to go on. With 30 required from 2 overs, little known ‘batsman’ Rajat Bhatia smacked 2 sixes off Parvinder Awana before the latter had the last laugh by going through his defenses to have him castled.
Praveen Kumar’s huge wide down the leg side was saved by a tumbling Gilchrist from going to the fine leg boundary. David Miller’s radiant catch at deep mid-wicket to dismiss Pathan brought the equation down to 8 off 4 balls. The bowling heroes of KKR, Sachira Senanayke and Sunil Narine could not provide the expected run as KXIP pulled off a sensational victory to demolish KKR at 153 for 9.
Perhaps this loss is to mean KKR isw overwhelming at home and may cause a little panic in the Chennai camp as they lock horns with KKR at the Eden Gardens on April 20, 2013 as early as 4 pm.