A despondent Gautam Gambhir blamed Kolkata Knight Riders' inability to finish as the reason behind the four-run defeat against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Tuesday evening. Chasing 158 for a victory, Kolkata ran out of overs as Punjab held their nerves in the death overs. This was KKR's third defeat in five matches.
In spite of losing two wickets for just one run on the board, Kolkata fought their way to a winning position thanks to a 104-run third-wicket stand between Gambhir (60) and Eoin Morgan (47). But with 42 needed from 30 balls, KKR's middle order collapsed as the home team bowled the right lengths against a deep and competent batting line-up.
"It's disappointing to lose from a good position. At one stage, we were thinking of a win in the 17th over, but that's the way T20 goes. It's a great leveler and you never know what happens till the end. We just didn't know how to finish the match," said Gambhir.
Kings XI skipper Adam Gilchrist congratulated his team for a good effort and admitted he was nervous throughout the match. The Australian veteran who kept wickets brilliantly, said Manpreet Gony was Punjab's Man Friday with a 18-ball 42 after Sunil Narine's hattrick decimated the Kings XI batting.
Gony won the Man of the Match award for his all-round show. He took the important wicket of Gambhir in a good tight spell where he conceded just 18 runs from four overs. But it was lusty batting that did the trick for Punjab from a hopeless position. The burly IPL 'veteran' struck four fours and three sixes in a sizzling display of power play.
"I have been working on my batting and no boundary is big enough for me. The bigger the boundary, bigger are my shots," Gony said, aptly summing up Punjab's buoyant mood after a close win against the fancied defending champions, KKR!