Mohali: Gautam Gambhir stupendous batting and Sunil Narine's splendid hat-trick went in-vain as Kings XI Punjab made a miraculous comeback to stun defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders by four runs in a thrilling Indian Premier League encounter, here on Tuesday.
Chasing a decent target of 158, KKR managed 153 for nine in the end despite a 105-run second wicket partnership between Gambhir (60, 39 balls, 8x4) and Eoin Morgan (47, 38 balls, 6x4).
This is Kings XI's second win from four matches while KKR's woeful away record continued as they have now lost their third game on the road.
From a comfortable 106 for two in 13 overs, KKR batsmen required only 52 off 42 balls but once the two set batsmen were out in quick succession, things changed rapidly.
Manoj Tiwary (1, 7 balls) and 'Million Dollar' man Yusuf Pathan (13, 16 balls) wasted 14 deliveries in between them as Manpreet Gony (1/18 in 4 overs) and Azhar Mahmood (3/21 in 4 overs) bowled brilliantly to get the home team back in the match.
Needing 11 runs off the final over, Adam Gilchrist saved what would have been 5 wides of the first delivery from Praveen Kumar. Praveen (2/26) kept his cool as he first removed Yusuf out of the equation and gave away only six runs to bring cheer for the home team.
Only KKR players could blame themselves for this shock defeat as they committed harakiri towards the end.
Rajat Bhatia (16) tried his best with a couple of sixes but that certainly wasn't enough in the end.
Gony, playing his first game of the cash-rich league certainly made a big impact in the final outcome of the encounter.
First his long-handle came to good effect as his 42 off 18 balls took Kings XI past 150-run mark which had looked improbable when they were tottering at 99 for six. Later, he removed a set Gambhir to bring KKR back in the match and also bowled consistently during his four-over spell.
The highlight during the first part of the match was Narine's hat-trick before Gony arrived to change the equations of the match.
Vindicating skipper Gautam Gambhir's decision to field first, Narine (3/33) along with Sri Lankan Sachitra Senanayake (2/28) bamboozled the Kings XI batsmen with their variations before Gony (42, 18 balls) thrashed the West Indian for 23 runs in the penultimate over to bring home team back in the match.
Narine achieved the landmark with his last three deliveries of the 15th over of the innings. First, he bowled a fast off-break that David Hussey (12) found very little room to play the cut-shot.
Veteran Azhar Mahmood (0) closed his bat face off the very next delivery as the leading edge looped up for the bowler to complete an easy return catch.
The 'hat-trick delivery' was easily the best of the lot as domestic batsman Gurkeerat Singh (0) had absolutely no clue about the delivery that turned the other way to peg the off-stump back. The Punjab youngster played for the turn and was foxed in the process.
Gony came in with Kings XI tottering at 99 for six and it soon became 109 for seven with David Miller (20) back in the dug-out. However the big-bodied Gony unleashed some booming shots as KKR bowlers went for 41 runs in 3.1 overs.
The former India pacer hit four boundaries and three huge sixes including two fours and two sixes in Narine's final over.
Earlier, Kings XI captain Adam Gilchrist's (7) woeful form in the current edition continued as Senanayake trapped him leg before with a straighter one in his very first over, which was the fourth of the innings. The score was 24 at that time.
Pint-sized Mandeep Singh (41, 30 balls 6x4) and young Manan Vohra (17) however negotiated the KKR bowlers confidently adding 37 runs for the second wicket before both were out in quick succession.