Uthappa stars as Knight Riders ease past Kings XI


Robin Uthappa stole the show as Kolkata Knight Riders moved to the top of the Indian Premier League table with a comfortable six-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab on Tuesday.

After limiting their struggling opponents to a modest total of 138-8, despite the best efforts of Shaun Marsh (56 not out), the Knight Riders made light work of the subsequent chase in Chandigarh.

Uthappa raced to 53 from 28 deliveries, while opening partner Gautam Gambhir - the tournament's leading run-scorer - contributed 34 at a run-a-ball as the Kings XI attack toiled.

A routine victory for the Knight Riders was completed with 17 balls unused, lifting Gambhir's men above Gujarat Lions, who do boast a game in hand.

Marsh did his best to hold things together for the Kings XI - striking five fours and one six in his 41-ball knock - but was badly hampered by a lack of support, with Murali Vijay (26) and Kyle Abbott (12 not out) the only other men to make double figures.

Sunil Narine (2-22), Morne Morkel (2-27) Umesh Yadav (1-17) and Piyush Chawla (1-18) all returned impressive figures and Kolkata were big favourites at the half-way mark despite Andre Russell conceding 18 runs in the 20th over.

The Knight Riders then seized complete control through their opening pair, Uthappa the chief aggressor as 65 runs came from the six-over powerplay - the highest total of the season to date.

Uthappa's half-century arrived from just 24 balls and by the time he fell lbw on the sweep to Pardeep Sahu (2-18), Kolkata faced a simple target of 57 from 69 deliveries.

Maxwell pulled off a superb diving catch at midwicket to ensure Sahu also picked up the scalp of Gambhir, but it mattered little and the Kings XI were well beaten despite Manish Pandey (12) and Shakib Al Hasan (11) falling cheaply.