IPL 2012: Kolkata Beat Chennai By Five Wickets
Kolkata Knight Riders 140-5 (Gambhir 63) beat
Chennai Super Kings 139-5 (Raina 44) by 5 wickets
Indian Premier League 2012, Chennai
Gautam Gambhir scored a half-century as the Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Chennai Super Kings by five wickets as game 41 of the Indian Premier League went down to the wire.
Debrabrata Das stroked the winning runs with two balls to spare as Chennai fought hard but were unable to defend a score of 139 for five.
Gambhir had departed in the penultimate over for 63 but his hard work had set his side up for a grand finale.
They started well, as bowling to his compatriot Michael Hussey and the in-form Francois du Plessis, Brett Lee produced a fiery opening spell which brought him the wicket of du Plessis for three when he edged to wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum.
Hussey looked in excellent touch given that he has only just arrived from the Caribbean and he stroked two fours before he was run out for 18, the Lee-McCullum combination working again for the away side.
Suresh Raina then took the fight to Kolkata - and Lee, who he hit for a handsome six - with an innings of 44 in 34 balls which also included four fours.
Dwayne Bravo made 12 before he was caught by Iqbal Abdulla off Jacques Kallis, who struck again to remove Raina, who rather threw his innings away when he was caught by Yusuf Pathan.
Chennai bat deep, but on a slow pitch, even they struggled to rebuild with Mahendra Singh Dhoni having to work hard to make 34 in 30 balls, Ravindra Jadeja not getting out of first gear in hitting nine in 13 balls.
Albie Morkel, however, was able to press the accelerator pedal but given only two overs, he made 13 in eight balls, leaving plenty to question how many more runs Chennai could have scored had he come in earlier.
Kallis finished with two for 21, Lee one for 23 and Sunil Narine one for 24.
Needing early wickets, Chennai predictably opted to open with left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati and although he didn't break through, Ravichandran Ashwin did in the third over when McCullum's miserable run with the bat continued, Jakati taking the catch to remove the New Zealander for two.
As Chennai looked to put the pressure on Kolkata, Kallis responded by slog-sweeping Ashwin over midwicket although he was almost run out soon after as he pinched a quick single.
Captain Gautam Gambhir, meanwhile, got off to a flyer despite being hit on the helmet by Morkel early in his innings. Morkel mixed hostility with profligacy, offering an extra delivery per over in his first three.
Kallis made a fluent 26 in 31 balls but fell when he was caught behind by Dhoni off the bowling of Bravo.
However, Gambhir was not about to be denied, and joined by Manoj Tiwary, he swept his team to victory with a flourish, once again closing Delhi Daredevil's lead at the top of the table to just one point.
His innings contained plenty of cuts as well as pulls and firm drives and he watched as another wicket fell at the other end, Tiwary lofting Morkel into the air to be caught by Yo Mahesh for 13.
Gambhir calmly manoeuvred Kolkata into a position where they needed 16 to win from the final 12 balls but fell the next ball when he was trapped in front by an excellent Bravo slower ball for a superb 63 in 52 balls, including six fours and a maximum.
Debrabrata Das then flicked Bravo for four to get off the mark and settle the nerves a little and from the final over, the Knight Riders needed six from six balls.
Although there was more drama when Yusug Pathan was caught by du Plessis off Ashwin, Das kept his head and hit four through midwicket to seal the win for Kolkata.
© Cricket World 2012