Royals knocked out of IPL
Kolkata - Sourav Ganguly and Cheteshwar Pujara put on a century partnership to propel the Kolkata Knight Riders to a comfortable eight-wicket win over the Rajasthan Royals in their IPL match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.
Chasing the Royals’ total of 132 for nine, Ganguly scored 75 not out off 50 balls while the right-handed Pujara contributed 45 not out off 38 deliveries as the home side reached 133 for two to secure victory with 23 balls of their innings remaining.
Ganguly and Pujara put on an unbroken third-wicket stand off 111 off 13.2 overs as Kolkata kept their slim semifinal hopes alive.
The win moved the home side to within two points of a semi-final place with one match too play.
However, Kolkata’s poor net run-rate may come back to haunt them at the end of the league phase.
The defeat left Rajasthan second from bottom on the points table and out of the tournament after completing their group games.
Kolkata’s run-chase had suffered an early wobble thanks to left-arm quick Kamran Khan who captured two wickets in four balls to reduce the home side to 22 for two.
Khan’s first strike was a touch lucky as Brendon McCullum (6) turned a full toss straight to square leg.
But there was nothing lucky about the second as Khan found the gap between Chris Gayle’s bat and pad to bowl the left-hander for a duck.
Khan ended the match with figures of two for 13 off two overs.
Earlier, Jaydev Unadkat starred with the ball as Kolkata restricted Rajasthan to a gettable total.
The 18-year-old seamer returned figures of three for 26 off four overs as the Royals’ batsmen failed to come to terms with a slow wicket which did very little to aid adventurous stroke play.
Opening batsmen Naman Ojha (18) and Shane Watson had provided the Royals with a rollicking start as the right-handed pair put on 59 runs for the first wicket off seven-and-a-half overs.
Watson was in a particularly belligerent mood as he smashed his way to 44 off 26 deliveries before being bowled by a slower ball from medium-pacer Laxmi Shukla.
Ojha followed 10 runs later when has was caught at point off a delivery from Unadkat.
Unadkat then captured his second wicket, courtesy of a superb diving catch from Ganguly, when the big-hitting Yusuf Pathan (8) top-edged a delivery to deep midwicket as the visitors stumbled to 74 for three.
The Australian duo of Adam Voges (8) and Aaron Finch (21) fell in consecutive overs when Voges was caught at long-on off a delivery from seamer Ashok Dinda before the right-handed Finch chopped a ball from speedster Shane Bond back on to his stumps.
Rajasthan were limping on 101 for five in the 15th over and matters did not improve when Abhishek Raut (2) handed Unadkat his wicket when the batsman’s wild swing skied the ball to mid-off where Gayle took a good catch after having to run backwards for a good few metres.
Faiz Fazal was the only other batsman to reach double figures and he chipped in with 13 before being run out in the last over of the innings after a throw from Unadkat at deep square leg.
Bond ended with figures of one for 20 off four overs, after achieving the rare feat of bowling a wicket maiden during a twenty20 match, while Dinda picked up two for 24.
Kolkata Knight Riders: SC Ganguly (capt), CH Gayle, BB McCullum (wk), MK Tiwary, AD Mathews, CA Pujara, LR Shukla, JD Unadkat, M Kartik, AB Dinda, SE Bond
Rajasthan Royals: AJ Finch, NV Ojha (wk), FY Fazal, SR Watson, YK Pathan, P Dogra, AS Raut, AC Voges, Kamran Khan, SK Warne (capt), SK Trivedi