Young guns fire; KKR win by 9 runs
Kolkata: Jacques Kallis followed up a masterly half-century with four catches in the deep as the Kolkata Knight Riders rode past the Deccan Chargers to register their maiden win in the Indian Premier League edition four on Monday.
Replying to the Knights` challenging 163/4, the Chargers managed 154/8 on a tough batting track at the half-filled Eden Gardens to crash to their second defeat in as many matches.
Left arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah (3/24) chipped in with key wickets on a turning pitch as the Knight Riders coasted to a 9-run victory after having gone down to defending champions Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling lung opener.
However, the narrow margin of victory was not truly reflective of the proceedings, as the KKR controlled the game right through and seemed on road to victory midway into the Deccan Chargers` essay.
South African opener Kallis (53, 45 balls) mixed some superb strokeplay with an uncanny ability to pick up the gaps with deft placements to lay a solid foundation, after the home side skipper Gautam Gambhir elected to bat. He extended his good batting show to the field, taking catches to see the back of rival skipper Kumar Sangakkara (16), Jean-Paul Duminy (6), the dangerous looking Bharat Chipli (48 of 40 balls) and Ravi Teja (15) to walk away with the man of the match award.
Set a formidable asking rate of 8.2, Deccan Chargers got off to a poor start, with openers Ishank Jaggi (3) and Shikhar Dhawan (7) going back by the fourth over. Jaggi saw his bells dislodged off his pads after he tried to pull a delivery from Abdulla that kept low.
Dhawan was then run out to a spectacular piece of throw by Eoin Morgan, and Deccan Chargers were 15/2.
Sangakkara and Chipli tried to steady the ship with a 38-run stand that took the visitors past the 50 mark. But with the asking rate mounting to over 10, the Sri Lankan tried to quicken the proceedings, but fell to a Kallis catch at square leg.
Duminy and Chipli, who was shaping up well, also departed by the 14th over, and Chargers were reduced to 88/5.
And despite some lusty hitting from Daniel Christian (25, 13 balls, 1x4, 2x6), the script was already decided.
The Kolkata Knight Riders had a cracker of a start, with the experienced Kallis hitting the first two deliveries of compatriot Dale Steyn. The other opener Manvinder Bisla (19) got a life on 12 when he was dropped by Ishant Sharma at third man in Steyn`s second over, and the openers put on 51 before the Indian departed leg before after missing an attempted sweep of leg spinner Amit Mishra.
The star pair of Kallis and Gautam Gambhir (29, 18 balls, 4x4) then put on 39 for the second wicket to set the stage for a big total.
Kallis, who played a rollicking knock, saw his stint in the middle come to an end as he tried to despatch compatriot, part time spinner Duminy out of the ground but the pull finished in the hands of Shikar Dhawan in the deep mid wicket boundary. KKR were then 90/2.
Gambhir, who played some delightful wristy strokes, and local boy Manoj Tiwary (30, 21 balls, 2x4, 2x6) then went about their job briskly to add 43 runs for the third wicket off only 26 deliveries.
Tiwary was particularly severe on Duminy, hitting him for two sixes in the 15th over that cost 15 runs.
Gambhir left in the 17th over, as he danced down the track to loft Mishra (2/19) out of the ground, but missed the line.
Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan (22 of 15 balls, 4x4) went for the slog to score 30 runs in the last three overs.