Cummins helps Kolkata to win after COVID donation
Hours after becoming the first IPL player to pledge funds to help India fight the coronavirus crisis, Pat Cummins took key wickets as Kolkata broke a four-match losing streak
27 April 2021, 07:22 AM AEST
Kolkata Knight Riders have carved out a convincing five-wicket win over Punjab Kings to end their four-match Indian Premier League losing streak.
After losing successive games at Mumbai and Chennai, Kolkata's move to Ahmedabad saw them produce a dominant display and jump to fifth with a second win in six games on Monday.
Punjab was strangled for 9-123 against the pace and spin of Kolkata, led by Prasidh Krishna's 3-30 and pairs from Australian paceman Pat Cummins (2-31 from three overs) and Sunil Narine (2-22).
Captain Eoin Morgan finally came good with the bat with his best score of the season, an unbeaten 47, as Kolkata raced to 5-126 with more than three overs to spare.
"We've worked incredibly hard but didn't perform as well as we would have liked," Morgan said.
"Today, our performance was really impressive, especially from our bowlers, and the way we started and kept the pressure throughout."
The early four-over spell of Shivam Mavi, 1-13, didn't allow Punjab to get away. The fast bowler conceded just one boundary and got the key wicket of Chris Gayle, who was caught behind off the first delivery he faced.
Mayank Agarwal (31) and Nicholas Pooran (19) couldn't capitalise on good starts, falling to the guile of Narine and Varun Chakarvarthy respectively.
Chris Jordan hit three sixes in the last two overs, his quickfire 30 off 18 balls lifting Punjab's total past 100 before he was clean bowled by Krishna in the last over.
Kolkata's batting problems up front continued as Punjab took three wickets in the first three overs and reduced it to 3-17.
But Morgan and Rahul Tripathi (41) combined for 66 to ensure victory. Tripathi survived a close run-out off a direct throw from Gayle and hit seven boundaries. Morgan's 40-ball knock included four boundaries and two sixes.
Although Kolkata lost Tripathi in the 11th over and Andre Russell was run out for 10 in the 15th over, Dinesh Karthik closed the match with two boundaries against fast bowler Arshdeep Singh.
"It was expected that the pitch was difficult to assess at a new venue when you're batting first," Punjab skipper Lokesh Rahul said.
"We should have adapted quickly, but we couldn't do that."
Punjab's Australian allrounder Moises Henriques took one wicket for five runs again opening the bowling, but was given a solitary over, and made just two with the bat. The team again left fast bowling pair Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith out of their playing XI.
The match was played hours after Kolkata's Cummins became the first IPL player to publicly pledged to donate funds to help fight India's COVID-19 crisis, donating $50,000 to go towards oxygen and medical supplies.
"To know so many are suffering so much at this time saddens me greatly," Australia's Test vice-captain wrote in a post on social media.
"At times like this it is easy to feel helpless. I've certainly felt that of late. But I hope by making this public appeal we can all channel our emotions into action that will bring light into people's lives.
"I know my donation isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but I hope it will make a difference to someone."
Cummins, who is staying put in India for now after three Australians left the IPL yesterday, called on other IPL players to contribute.
Cummins was purchased by Kolkata for a record INR15.5 Crore in an IPL auction in December 2019. At the time the contract was worth some A$3.1m but due to currency fluctuations is now valued at $A2.6m.
The IPL is continuing in a COVID-safe bubble and Cummins noted the discussion about whether it was appropriate to continue playing as the crisis deepened.
He said he'd been told the Indian Government believed the IPL provided a few hours of respite for the country at a difficult time.
Meanwhile, fellow Australian players Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson have left the IPL as COVID-19 infections surge to unprecedented levels in India.
Tye was flown out of India on Sunday night after requesting a release from the Rajasthan Royals on personal grounds amid growing unease about the path back to Australia.
Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday said leg-spinner Zampa and paceman Richardson had been given permission to return home for personal reasons.
The Australian government, having already reduced passenger numbers from India, is set to discuss a temporary ban on all repatriation flights.