Two West Indian players set up the win for Kolkata Knight Riders against Kings XI Punjab that took them to the top of the standings in the IPL. First, Sunil Narine, who is on a final warning from the BCCI's Suspect Bowling Action Committee, produced a wonderful spell to limit the damages during Kings XI innings.

Then Andre Russell, who has already carved a nice reputation as a fierce hitter under pressure situations, took the team to the brink of victory after the top order failed. Despite the late hiccups, Knight Riders managed to scrape through with a one-wicket win and showed the resilience befitting defending champions.

Russel's redemption after his horrific final over

Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers had pulled it back. At the end of 15 overs, Kings XI Punjab were 134 for 2 with Glenn Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha ready to go for the final assault. The next four overs went for only 29 runs only, while both the set batsmen got out. With the score at 163 for 4, Andre Russell just had to carry on with the good work of the other bowlers, and the team could have gone into the dressing room quite content with their efforts.

But Russell's last over proved to be disastrous for the Knight Riders. He erred on length, bowled too full or too short, and was taken for 21 runs by David Miller. The momentum shifted again and with 184 on the board, it was Kings XI Punjab's match to lose.

Russell went for 50 from his four overs. It was upto him to redeem himself with the bat. For which he did not have to wait very long.

The KKR batsmen took the high-risk approach and lost four wickets within the first 11 overs for 83. Russell and Yusuf Pathan then came together for a 25-balls stand that fetched 53 runs.

Neither is a classic example of the present-day T20 batsman, lacking the finesse to play all around the field. Both depend on brute force and play their strokes mostly straight. With a flurry of hits in the arc behind the bowler and through midwicket, they kept the asking rate under control.

After Pathan got out for 29 from 19, Russell went on the offensive even more. He brought up his 50 from just 19 balls, thus equalling the fastest 50 of the season, scored by Harbhajan Singh against Kings XI earlier. Russell has been able to consistently provide the Knight Riders the middle-over thrust they need, and his strike rate of 197.9 is the highest for any batsman who has crossed the 250-run mark in IPL 8.

Russell's quickfire 50 ensured that the target was brought down to 29 from four overs. But just when it looked like the Knight Riders would get there on a canter, Russell was dismissed by Axar Patel, courtesy a brilliant take behind the stumps by Saha. Going for the cut to a ball that gripped and turned sharply, Russell got a faint tickle which was snapped by an ever alert Saha. He departed for 51 from 21 balls, an innings studded with five fours and four sixes.

Piyush Chawla keeps a cool head

The wicket seemed to have boosted Axar Patel, who had gone for 24 runs in his previous over and came under heavy punishment from Pathan and Russel. He came up with a brilliant display of fielding to remove Johan Botha and spread panic on the Knight Riders bench. He had only one stump to aim at, but managed to hit it directly from cover to catch Botha short of his crease.

However, Piyush Chawla kept a cool head in the end. His two consecutive boundaries off Beuran Hendricks in the 18th over eased the pressure. Chawla is strong through the off-side and he plays the slice shots over point so well that sometimes it becomes difficult for the fielding captain to set fields for him in the late stages of an innings.

With eight needed off the last over, Bailey brought in Anureet Singh, who had been expensive earlier. He hit the block-hole with the first two deliveries and got Brad Hogg run out after Chawla hit one straight to him. Hogg had already run halfway down the pitch and did not manage to get back.

The next ball, Anureet missed the yorker length by a fraction and that was enough for Chawla, who got underneath it and hammered it over midwicket for a six. With the contest virtually over, Anureet got the consolation wicket of Chawla, caught down the leg-side. But it was too late.

Narine's solo effort

Earlier, Kings XI captain George Bailey won the toss and decided to bat first. His team was aided by some poor fielding by the Knight Riders, who dropped Murali Vijay thrice and Manan Vohra, twice. Sunil Narine's brilliant spell of 4 for 19 made sure that these drops did not cost them the match. Called upon to break an ominous partnership between the openers Maxwell and Saha, he removed both of them in the same over to peg Kings XI back.

It was hard not to notice the influence of Narine on the innings. Every other Knight Riders bowler went for 7.5 runs per over or more, while Narine went for just 4.75, in addition to his four wickets.

Glenn Maxwell regained some sort of touch on Saturday with his 43 from 22 balls. He tried to hit straight rather than drag his shots to the onside, which has resulted in numerous dismissals already this season. It was a challenging total, especially on the Eden Gardens pitch, but not challenging enough.