Kolkata crush Punjab
Kolkata - The Kolkata Knight Riders moved to the top of the IPL log as they crushed the Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets in their match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.
Chasing a meagre 120 for victory Kolkata cruised to 120 for two thanks to an unbroken 85-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary.
Gambhir weighed in with 45 not out while Tiwary ended unbeaten on 34 as the dealt admirably with a slow pitch which provided plenty of turn for the spinners
The Tiwary/Gambhir partnership helped to settle any early nerves the home side would have felt after the loss of opening batsmen Jacques Kallis (1) and Eoin Morgan.
Morgan, who had been promoted up the order, set off in spectacular fashion as he thrashed six fours in scoring 28 off 15 deliveries before he was well caught by a diving Ryan Harris at deep midwicket off the bowling of left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt.
Bhatt was the one Punjab bowler to really trouble Kolkata as he ended with figures of two for 22 off four overs.
The win moved Kolkata to the top of the table, ahead of the Mumbai Indians thanks to a superior net run-rate.
Punjab had earlier battled to get to grips with the turning pitch as they stumbled to 119 for six.
Left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla was Punjab’s chief tormentor as the 21-year-old returned the superb figures of two for 19 off four overs while off-spinner Yusuf Pathan was only slightly less effective with figures of one for 24.
The visitors did not help their cause with some poor running between the wickets as three of their batsmen were run out.
Punjab, after being put into bat, made a decent start thanks to an opening stand of 32 off 4.3 overs between Adam Gilchrist (26) and the in-form Paul Valthaty (7).
But Valthaty was caught at long-on off the bowling of Pathan to precipitate a collapse which saw the visitors lose four wickets for just 21 runs to slide to 53 for four.
Shaun Marsh (5) and Abhishek Nayar (0) were both run out while Gilchrist was bowled by a straight delivery from Abdulla.
David Hussey (15) and Dinesh Karthik tried to resurrect the innings with a 33-run fifth-wicket stand but Abdulla snapped the burgeoning partnership when he trapped Hussey leg-before with a straight delivery which beat Hussey’s defensive prod.
Karthik continued on his merry way and he eventually contributed a run-a-ball 42 before he was run out in the last over when he tried to take a second run but could not beat an accurate throw from Pathan in the covers to keeper Shreevats Goswami
Bipul Sharma was unbeaten on 16 as he and Karthik put on 31 runs off 4.4 overs for the sixth wicket.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
JH Kallis, SP Goswami (wk), Gautam Gambhir (capt), MK Tiwary, YK Pathan, EJG Morgan, R Bhatia, RN ten Doeschate, Iqbal Abdulla, L Balaji, B LeeKings XI Punjab:
AC Gilchrist (capt & wk), PC Valthaty, SE Marsh, KD Karthik, DJ Hussey, AM Nayar, P Kumar, PP Chawla, BA Bhatt, Bipul Sharma, RJ Harris