Kolkata Knight Riders 85-2 (Gambhir 35no) beat
Rajasthan Royals 81 (Balaji 3-15) by 8 wickets
Indian Premier League 2011, Kolkata
Kolkata Knight Riders scored an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals at Kolkata, thereby staking a claim as the in-form side of the 2011 IPL season with their third win in four games. They now sit at the top of the table with six points.
On the same lines of their win in Jaipur over the same opponents in the last game, Kolkata decided to field first after winning the toss. Rajasthan were lightweight in their batting order today, resting both Rahul Dravid and Johan Botha, batsmen who have given them stability so far.
Shane Watson opened the innings with Amit Paunikar and although the duo was able to get off the blocks, the batting soon collapsed. Both were dismissed within a space of six balls and when Faiz Fazal and Abhishek Raut were run out in quick succession, the score read 43 for four in eight overs.
It got worse when big-hitting Ross Taylor and Ajinkya Rahane fell cheaply as well and the tailenders followed soon after. Ashok Menaria top scored with 21 runs off 17 balls with one four as only four batsmen reached double digits.
For Kolkata Lakshmipathy Balaji took three for 15 in three overs and Shakib Al Hasan took two for 21 from his four. Brett Lee, Yusuf Pathan and Iqbal Abdullah chipped in with a wicket apiece as Rajasthan were bowled out for a paltry 81 in 15.2 overs.
The target was never going to challenge the hosts and they were buoyed by the fact that more people came to watch them this time around at the Eden Gardens.
Even so, they didn’t make the best of starts with openers Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis falling without doing much; Kallis scoring a duck was an aberration of sorts as he had been in stupendous form leading up to the game, but skipper Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary didn’t let any more wickets fall and saw their side to the finish line.
Tiwary scored 30 runs off 26 balls with four fours and one six, while Gambhir made 35 off as many balls with three hits to the fence. It was the skipper himself who struck Shaun Tait for a four to signal a dominant victory with 6.1 overs to spare.
© Cricket World 2011