Kolkata: The crowd came in huge support to support Kolkata Knight Riders and Gambhir’s boys didn’t disappoint them as they defeated Pune Warriors India by 7 runs at the Eden Gardens.
Kolkata got off to a flyer as Gambhir and McCullum added 98 runs in the first 10 overs. Pune had to wait for 12 overs to get their first breakthrough as skipper Gambhir was dismissed in the 13th over at the score of 113. Things changed from there on as Kolkata batsmen were not able to capitalize on the solid platform provided by the two openers.
McCullum was out in the 14th over as Kolkata continued to struggle for regular boundaries from there on. While Jacques Kaliis (1) was bowled off a very good slower ball from Angelo Mathews, Yusuf Pathan once again failed with the bat as he scored just 11 runs from 15 balls. It was some good bowling from Mathews towards the end that restricted Kolkata to 150 runs at the end of 20 overs.
While Pune were sloppy in the field on most of the occasions, it had a superman effort from Steven Smith in the 15th over. Yusuf Pathan smashed one towards wide long-on and that looked like a certain six before Smith flew to his right, got his hand to hit and threw the ball back inside the rope just in time. He saved four runs for his team on that occasion.
Pune Warriors had done well to restrict Kolkata to such a total as at one stage they were heading towards a mammoth score.
Pune scored 10 runs from Abdulla’s first over and de Lange bowled Clarke off the second ball of his first over to provide a major breakthrough. Clarke was taken by surprise of the pace as the ball hit the bails. Uthappa (17) and Manish Pandey (17) once again got of to a good start, but could not carry to play a big innings. Within no time, Pune were reeling at 55/5.
Surprisingly, Pune skipper Sourav Ganguly kept the crowd waiting as he came in to bat at number 7. Ganguly began on a slow note but went on to add 76 runs for the sixth wicket along with Angelo Mathews. Mathews tried to match with the required run-rate as he hit three consecutive sixes in the 15th over bowled by Yusuf Pathan.
As most of the bowlers leaked runs, Sunil Narine once again was very impressive as he gave away just 12 runs in three over and picked up 2 wickets. The batsmen did not take any chances against him as he continued to move the ball both ways. For his impressive show, he was also declared the Man of the Match.
Gautam Gambhir once again led from the front, however he was unhappy with the way his side fell short by 20 runs. The middle order remains to be a matter of concern for Kolkata who have now won five matches in a row. Pune on the other hand witnessed their fifth successive defeat after having begun the tournament on a confident note.
The crowd at the Eden Gardens was electrifying and at times it was difficult to make out the team they were cheering for. They would have returned with entertainment worth their money as the home team emerged victorious and Ganguly entertained them with some good strokes.