Kolkata Knight Riders 150-5 (Gambhir 56) beat
Pune Warriors 143-8 (de Lange 3-34) by 7 runs
Indian Premier League 2012, Kolkata
Kolkata Knight Riders spoilt Sourav Ganguly’s homecoming party, beating Pune Warriors by seven runs at Eden Gardens.
This was Pune's fifth consecutive defeat and almost knocks them out of contention for a berth in the play-offs.
Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to bat first. Then he and Brendon McCullum put up a mammoth opening partnership to dash any hopes Pune might have had of making an impression on the full house that Ganguly had drawn.
The two were together for 113 runs, Kolkata’s best opening stand of the tournament so far. Gambhir was the more aggressive, scoring 56 runs off 36 balls, including four fours and two sixes. McCullum’s strike rate was a tad lower, as he made 42 off 43 balls, with five fours and one six.
When Gambhir fell in the 13th over, Kolkata were still looking at a target of 180-plus. But the innings lost their way as Pune fought themselves right back into the match. By the 16th over, they were reduced to 122 for 3 with McCullum and Jacques Kallis also back in the hut. Yusuf Pathan failed again, making only 11 runs as no other batsman crossed the 20-run mark.
They eventually finished at 150 for five in the allotted 20 overs, well below what they had sought to achieve with a great opening stand and the lowest score in IPL history to include a century stand for the opening wicket.
For Pune, Angelo Mathews picked up two for 17 in his four overs and was the most successful bowler.
When the chase began, Ganguly held himself back and sent out Michael Clarke to open with Robin Uthappa. The move backfired as Marchant de Lange removed both of them and then Manish Pandey was out caught off Iqbal Abdullah in the seventh over. The score at that time was 49 for three.
Both Pandey and Uthappa made exactly the same number of runs - 17 whille Clarke was out for one. Sunil Narine and Kallis struck further blows to dent their hopes, removing Steve Smith and Mithun Manhas, as Pune were struggling at 55 for five.
This brought together Angelo Mathews and Ganguly, and they resisted with a 73-run partnership for the sixth wicket. It seemed they would take Pune to an improbable win, when Mathews smacked Yusuf Pathan all over the park. But that proved to be a distant dream as both fell in the space of six balls, leaving Pune helpless. Mathews made 35 off 27 balls, with three sixes.
Ganguly was out for 36 off 35 balls, with four fours and one six. Their innings finally closed at 143 for eight, as Kolkata closed the points gap to Delhi Daredevils to just one, ahead of their clash on Monday.
© Cricket World 2012