Knight Riders secure second
The Kolkata Knight Riders bowled and fielded tenaciously, as they defeated the struggling Pune Warriors by 34 runs in their IPL encounter at the Subrata Roy Stadium on Saturday.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Kolkata found the going tough on a low and slow pitch as they notched 136 for four, before a fine effort with the ball kept their hosts to just 102 for eight.
Pune never recovered from losing the trio of Michael Clarke (13), Jesse Ryder (22) and skipper Saurav Ganguly in quick succession. Ryder was the top scorer, as none of the batsemn could get going on the slow track.
Earlier, the Knight Riders had also lost wickets at the start, with skipper Gautum Gambhir out for just ten, snaffled in the deep by Ashish Nehra, after the first four overs allotted just 21 runs.
Jacques Kallis was bowled by Clarke for just 13, before Brendon McCullum (41) and Shakib Al Hasan compiled a needed 67 for the third wicket.
McCullum, with five fours in a becalmed knock of 43 balls, became Wayne Parnell's second victim in the 17th over, caught by Jesse Ryder. Hasan was then castled by Kumar ten runs later, as the Knight Riders couldn't kick on in their closing overs.
Parnell snared 2-18, mixing up his pace well.
In reply, however, Pune couldn't break their eight-match losing streak. Robin Uthappa went early, before Clarke was stumped off a wide by Yusuf Pathan. Ryder (22) was then bowled as he tried to up the tempo off the same bowler.
The last hope for Pune was captain Ganguly, but the veteran was trapped in front by Al Hasan for just five. AL Hasan added fine figures of 2-18 to his crucial knock with the bat.
The run rate escalated out of control for the Warriors, as spinner Surin Narine kept up the pressure. It was only a question of how big the margin would be when Pune lost Ferguson at the end of the 17th over, with the total on 92.
Narine and Balaji each grabbed a wicket before the death, as the Knight Riders secured a crucial win to confirm their number two spot in the standings.
For Pune, it was a ninth loss in a row in a grim campaign.
PUNE WARRIORS: Saurav Ganguly (capt), Jesse Ryder, Michael Clarke, Robin Uthappa (wk), A Majumdar, Callum Ferguson, Harpreet Singh, Wayne Parnell, B Kumar, Ali Murtaza, Ashish Nehra.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Gautum Gambhir (capt), Brendon McCullum, Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Iqbal Abdulla, Surin Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji.