Kolkata, April 13 (IANS) Fit-again Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pacer Umesh Yadav started his Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a high by taking four crucial wickets to restrict Kings XI Punjab to 170/9 at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
Yadav returned figures of 4/33 with a stellar 18th over where he took three wickets in the space of four balls to send set David Miller (28; 19b 2×4 2×6), Wriddhiman Saha (25 (17b 2×4 2×6) and Axar Patel (0) back in the hut.
Earlier, he took the wicket of visiting captain Glenn Maxwell 25 (14b 3×4 1×6) also.
There were two 50-run partnerships for the visitors — between Manan Vohra (28; 19b 4×4 1×6) and Hashim Amla (25; 27b, 4×4, 0x6) and Saha and Miller — but none of the batsmen could convert their starts.
Smarting from a defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians in their last game, KKR were bolstered by the return of Umesh while New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme was pencilled in place injured Australian opener Chris Lynn. Umesh replaced Ankit Rajpoot.
Kuldeep Yadav was also dropped with leg-spinner Piyush Chawla replacing the young chinaman bowler.
Kings XI, coming into the tie after a resounding eight-wicket against Royal Challengers Bangalore, made one change with India pacer Ishant Sharma coming in place of T. Natarajan.
The away side were off to a flying start with openers Manan Vohra (28) and Hashim Amla (25) milking the likes of Trent Boult and Umesh for seven fours and a six.
Vohra spoilt Umesh’s return to the side, tonking the in-form India pacer for a six in front of square with a pull.
The Punjab batsman was dropped in the third over by West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine who grassed an easy take off Boult’s bowling at third man.
Amla played second fiddle, dispatching poor deliveries from Boult and Chris Woakes to the fence.
Just when the pair looked good for a decent opening wicket stand, Chawla — in his very first ball — broke their 53-run association with a googly that went through Vohra’s defence.
After the Powerplay, Kings XI were 57/1.
Marcus Stoinis (9;12b 1×4 0x6) did not last long, Narine making amends for his dropped catch with a back of a length delivery which the Australian dragged onto his stumps trying to cut.
Grandhomme was introduced in the 12th over and after bowling three straight dot balls in his first game since being replaced by suspended Andre Russell in the KKR squad, the Kiwi sent the set Amla back in the hut.
Trying to whip a delivery outside off stump down the leg side, Amla top-edged to Gautam Gambhir at extra cover for an easy catch.
Umesh then shaved off the visitors’ formidable middle order, taking the wickets of Maxwell, Miller, Saha and Axar Patel in his third and fourth spell.
Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 170/9 (Manan Vohra 28, David Miller 28, Glenn Maxwell 25, Umesh Yadav 4/33, Chris Woakes 2/30) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.