Cricket: Narine and Gambhir fire KKR to another thrilling chase

Sunil Narine's promotion to opener paid dividends for Kolkata Knight Riders as they produced an impressive chase against Kings XI Punjab.

Kolkata Knight Riders produced another devastating run chase to thrash Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets and end their unbeaten IPL start.

Playing at a raucous Eden Gardens, KKR made home advantage count after winning the toss and inviting their visitors to bat, chasing down 171 with 21 balls to spare, having knocked off 184 in 14.5 overs in their opening match of the tournament against Gujarat Lions.

Chris Lynn was the star of that show, but the Australian six machine was absent through injury, so it was left to the promoted Sunil Narine (37 off 18 balls) to bring the fireworks as captain Gautam Gambhir (72 not out) anchored the innings superbly.

Umesh Yadav (4-33) took three wickets in the space of four deliveries late in the Kings XI knock as a promising start was checked to leave the hosts a chaseable target.

Yadav's success made up for a hapless outing for Trent Boult (0-36), who suffered a dropped catch, misfields and a bizarre all-run four (helped by two overthrows) off his bowling.

Narine shelled a sitter when Manan Vohra skied Boult to third man, but the opener only got to 28 before he was bowled by Piyush Chawla (1-36). His score represented somewhat of an apparent wall that Kings XI could not break through.

Hashim Amla (25), Glenn Maxwell (25), David Miller (28) and Wriddhiman Saha (25) played innings of varying paces, but each ended with similar scores and, having successfully chased twice, Kings XI did not prove as adept at defending their total.

The sight of Narine opening the batting in T20s is not necessarily new - he did so playing for Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League - but the Trinidadian announced himself as a top-order danger with three sixes and four fours that put KKR well ahead of the rate.

Narine's 37 was his second-highest score in any form of cricket and 76-1 represented KKR's best powerplay total in IPL history.

From there it was all about Gambhir, who moved above David Warner at the top of the run-scoring charts on his way to a 33rd IPL fifty - two behind Warner in a ranking that the Australian remains atop.

And the chase was capped as impressively as it was launched as Manish Pandey (25) blasted Marcus Stoinis over long on for six.

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