IPL 2024: Salt dazzles as KKR score emphatic win over LSG

Phil Salt
Phil Salt plays a big shot. Photo: PTI/Swapan Mahapatra

Kolkata: Opening batter Phil Salt's magnificent 89 not out complemented pacer Mitchell Starc's brilliant bowling show as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) began their five-match home stretch with a one-sided eight-wicket win over Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the Indian Premier League here on Sunday.

The IPL's record buy Starc, who copped criticism for taking just two wickets from four matches and leaking 11 runs per over, grabbed 3/28, while Sunil Narine returned with figures of 1/17 in his miserly spell as LSG scored a below-par 161/7 after KKR opted to bowl.

The duo's bowling show eventually denied 20-30 runs for LSG who suffered their first ever defeat against KKR.

Salt smashed three sixes and 14 fours in his 47-ball knock, while captain Shreyas Iyer overcame a wobbly start to remain unbeaten on a run-a-ball 38 as KKR chased down the target of 162 with 26 balls to spare.

The duo stitched an unbroken stand of 120 from 76 balls to take KKR home.

The win that coincided with the Bangla Nabo Barsho (Bengali New Year) catapulted KKR to second spot in the IPL table with eight points from five matches.

West Indies' Gabba Test hero against Australia, Shamar Joseph had a forgettable debut for LSG and he began by leaking 22 runs in an eventful first over in which he bowled two wides and two no-balls.

Salt added salt to the injury by spanking the 24-year-old pacer over midwicket, that set the tone for his 26-ball fifty. He then smashed Arshad Khan for successive boundaries to race to his fifty, his second of the season -- both coming on their home turf.

The only bright spot for LSG was Mohsin Khan's first two overs when he exhibited a fine display of left-arm pace bowling and took the key wickets of Sunil Narine (6) and Angkrish Raghuvanshi (7).

He nearly dismissed Iyer with an incoming delivery that went through the batter's defence before darting away.

Apart from that, it was a one-way traffic with Salt in his devastating best.

Earlier, playing his 14th successive season for KKR, Narine yet again showed his craft at Eden Gardens when he stifled LSG in the middle overs in his boundary-less show that eventually proved to be decisive.

The Trinidadian came right after the powerplay just when LSG captain KL Rahul and Badoni were looking to capitalise with 49/2 on the board.

With the wicket gripping, he varied his pace and deceived the batters with his clever variations and the duo chose to see through his overs.

Narine gave away just nine runs in his first two overs, and completed his quota in the 15th over, dismissing Badoni (29) with Angrkrish Raghuvanshi taking a well-judged catch at deep square leg.

Vaibhav Arora, second left, celebrates with teammates after dismissing Quinton de Kock. Photo: PTI/Swapan Mahapatra

Under the searing sun and on a two-paced wicket, LSG struggled to hold on to the momentum after the powerplay with Narine and Hritesh Rana bowling with precision.

Promoted to No. 4 after his 35-ball 55 not out, Badoni struggled to rotate strike as the KKR bowler duo did well to bring the run-rate down to 7.2 at the halfway mark.

Rahul, who looked at ease against the pacers, also began to choke under pressure but he took on Andre Russell in the 11th over for an upper-cut six over deep backward point.

Off the next ball, he attempted a swivel shot but mistimed it straight to Ramandeep Singh at deep midwicket to be out of 39.

Under-fire Starc bore the brunt of Quinton de Kock's fury early on when the South African smoked him for successive fours.

At the other end, Vaibhav Arora was wayward and Rahul took on the inexperienced seamer, hitting him over extra cover.

Against the run of play, Arora drew first blood in the second over, dismissing de Kock for 10.

Hooda's promotion to No. 3 also failed to yield desired result. Hooda perished for eight in the fifth over over thanks to Ramandeep's flying catch at deep backward point.

After being 111/5 in 14.4 overs, LSG recovered in the back end with Nicholas Pooran's counter-attacking innings.

Nicholas Pooran
Nicholas Pooran plays a drive. Photo: PTI/Swapan Mahapatra

Pooran smashed four sixes and two fours.Just when he was closing in on his fifty, Starc (3/28) had the last laugh in the final over. 

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