FIRST THE SPINNERS and then a fine fifty by Robin Uthappa led to a comfortable six wicket win with 17 balls to spare for the Kolkata Knight Riders against the Kings XI Punjab at Mohali to take them to the top of the table.
KKR won the toss on a 170/180 wicket and decided to insert KXIP in. The hosts lost Manan Vohra in the fourth over, when he tried to flick Morne Morkel to deep square-leg, but Murali Vijay continued playing strokes, before he was castled by a Piyush Chawla wrong-un with the total on 47.
Shaun Marsh held one end up, but wickets fell regularly from the other end. Soon the home team were 94/5 when Glenn Maxwell tried to switch-hit Sunil Narine, but found Chawla at cover.
Marsh continued playing his strokes, but single-digit scores from the rest of the batsmen nullified any momentum gain.
The last over bowled by Andre Russell yielded some runs as 18 were scored off it, which included two sixes.
Even though 138 was not asking too much of the KKR batsmen, openers Gautam Gambhir and Uthappa got off to a flying start, adding 65 runs in the Powerplay.
Uthappa played a few lofted drives and reached his fifty in just 24 deliveries, and by the time Pardeep Sahu caught him right in front, it was all but too late for KXIP.
Gambhir played his part in the 82-run partnership, scoring 34 of them, before Sahu struck again to remove him, thanks to a splendid catch in the deep by Maxwell.
Left-armer Axar Patel joined the wicket-taking club by scalping Manish Pandey and Shakib-Al-Hasan, but Yusuf Pathan and Suryakumar Yadav took the team over the line with almost three overs to spare.
Uthappa was named the Man of the Match for his stellar performance with the bat and for his three dismissals behind the wickets.