Kolkata: Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist credited superb fielding and tight bowling at the end for their thrilling two-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Sunday. Defending a small total of 134, Punjab brought themselves back into the game with a three for 18 by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, before medium pacer Harmeet Singh bowled a brilliant last over, conceding just six when nine were needed, to hand them their first away victory.
Gilchrist could not point to any single match-turning moment, but said the fielders made the difference. "It wasn't really one moment really. Paras Dogra's catch [to dismiss Jacques Kallis] was amazing while Piyush Chawla really swung ourselves back. Above all, the constant thing was that there was amazing fielding. I think the fielding was of [the] highest quality," Gilchrist said after his side's two-run victory.
"The scrambling partnership at the end in getting us to 134 definitely got us right into the game. I would not say [that there was] one turning point," Gilchrist said of Harmeet's six-ball 14 with three boundaries. In the final result, the 30 runs that Punjab scored off their last two overs proved massive. Chawla and Harmeet threw their bats around to take 19 off the penultimate over bowled by Kallis, and the final over brought 11, with Bhargav Bhatt swinging the last ball for six.
In contrast, KKR could not get the 13 runs they required off the last two overs of their chase. Gilchrist said he did not ask Harmeet to do anything special in the last over. "Always felt Harmeet had it in him. Just wanted him to be clear in his mind. I wanted to make him comfortable. We can all say what's the best ball to bowl but the bowler has to execute himself. [Overall] it was a pretty committed performance. A lot of belief there. That goes a long way in getting results from there on."
Punjab had scored their first win of this season in their previous match on a Mohali green-top while the conditions in Kolkata were just the opposite. "It's pleasing to know that we can adjust to the conditions. I can't really say our batting really adjusted. The top order did not really adjust. David Hussey fought well. The bowling was excellent. To limit those boundaries, particularly in the last two or three overs, was a brilliant effort."
Gilchrist also praised Kolkata's Windies recruit Sunil Narine, who foxed Punjab with a 5 for 19 to be adjudged Man of the Match but in a losing cause. "He is a quality bowler. He bowled remarkably well. The guys fought well with the bat, [despite] some exceptional spin bowling from Narine and Co."