Kolkata Knight Riders 162-4 (Y Pathan 40no) beat
Delhi Daredevils 144-8 by 18 runs
Indian Premier League 2012, Pune
Kolkata Knight Riders booked their place in the Indian Premier League 2012 final as they produced a strong performance to beat Delhi Daredevils by 18 runs in the qualifier in Pune.
Yusuf Pathan's late blast of 40 not out helped them accelerate to a score of 162 for four and Delhi closed on 144 for eight in reply, unable to pick up the pace when it was required.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine and fast bowler Jacques Kallis both returned figures of two for 24 and there was a wicket for each of the six bowlers used.
Gambhir, Kallis and Brendon McCullum had earlier starred with the bat to hand Kolkata a winning total.
While Kolkata advance to Sunday's final, Delhi have a second chance to qualify, when they take on the winer of the Mumbai Indians-Chennai Super Kings clash on Friday in a bid to get through.
Kolkata batted strongly from the start with captain Gautam Gambhir leading the way having won the toss. He struck 32 in 16 balls with three fours and two sixes and had added 48 with Brendon McCullum (31) when he departed.
McCullum then joined forces with Jacques Kallis, who made 30 in 33 balls and although neither could boast spectacularl strike rates, they set a platform for the following batsmen to come and do some damage.
In the wickets for Delhi were Pawan Negi, Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan, who removed Shakib Al Hasan for one while Gambhir was run out prior to the charge.
Yusuf Pathan, who has returned to some form at precisely the right time for Kolkata, who are being rewarded for keeping faith with him, struck 40 not out in 21 balls, hammering three fours and two sixes.
He was given excellent support by Laxmi Shukla, whose 24 occupied just 11 deliveries and the pair added 56 in the final four overs.
Delhi made a quick start, Virender Sehwag hitting 10 in seven balls and David Warner seven in six before both fell in quick succession with the score on 24.
Warner was given out caught by McCullum off Shakib although replays suggested the ball came off his pad rather than his bat and he was less than impressed with the umpire's decision.
Sehwag followed two balls later when he edged Lakshmipathy Balaji to McCullum and Delhi were forced on to the back foot.
However, Twenty20 cricket allows little time for rebuilding so Naman Ojha and Mahela Jayawardene counter-punched until Sunil Narine's introduction to the attack slowed them down.
Back came Delhi, targeting Rajat Bhatia but that backfired when Ojha (29 in 28 balls) slashed him straight into the hands of Gambhir at backward point, the partnership of 59 broken and the game in the balance.
Jayawardene's pinpoint accuracy, both playing orthodox strokes and when improvising, hitting the ball over McCullum's head, for example, was unerringly good and with him at the crease, Delhi always stood a fighting chance, and all the more so after McCullum dropped Yalaka Venugopal Rao on four, perhaps finding Narine as dificult to deal with as the batsmen
Another key moment in the game was Jayawardene's dismisal when he was stumped by McCullum trying to take on Iqbal Abdulla. He had made an excellent 39 in 33 balls with six fours.
Delhi sent Negi up the order to try to accelerate the run-rate but Kolkata's bowlers kept to their disciplines, giving the batsmen very little to hit, leaving Delhi needing 46 to win in 24 balls.
An excellent over from Kallis brought him the wicket of Rao, who was caught by Bhatia as he top-edged although Delhi, by opting to promote Negi, had Ross Taylor and Pathan still to come, but the asking rate was by then growing swiftly - 43 required from the final three overs.
Taylor made room and hit Narine over midwicket for six but with two overs to go, 33 further runs were required. Another outstanding over from Kallis built more pressure and Taylor holed out to square leg and with him went Delhi into Friday's eliminator.
They required 26 to win from the final six balls and although Pathan hit the first ball for four, the normal order of the day was resumed when Negi was stumped for 14 two balls later. Narine then removed Morne Morkel and although he missed out on the hat-trick, it scarcely mattered.
© Cricket World 2012