Shakab spins Kolkata to win
Kolkata - Shakib Al Hasan served up a superb spell of spin bowling as the Kolkata Knights Riders beat the Rajasthan Royals by five wickets in a low-scoring IPL match at Eden Gardens on Friday.
Left-arm spinner Shakib finished with 3-17 off four overs as Rajasthan were restricted to 131 for five on a slow pitch which offered up appreciable turn.
Kolkata then replied with 137 for five with the winning runs coming courtesy of a six from Ryan ten Doeschate (7 not out) with just four balls of the innings left.
West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine provided good support for Shakib as he claimed 1-22 off four overs, an admirable return after he had conceded 10 runs off his first over.
Rajasthan won the toss and elected to bat and, initially, the decision looked to be a good one as Rahul Dravid (28) and Ajinkya Rahane (19) combined for an opening stand of 45 off 6.1 overs.
But the advent of the 25-year-old Shakib into the attack turned the match on its head as the Bangladesh bowler struck with his first ball when he had Rahane (19) caught behind by keeper Manvinder Bisla.
Rajasthan slipped to 48 for two when Ashok Menaria (1) was run out at the non-striker’s end by a direct hit from the bowler Yusuf Pathan.
Shakib then grabbed his second wicket, in his second over, when he had Dravid caught at short cover as Kolkata slumped to 49 for three as they lost three wickets for six runs.
Owais Shah and Shreevats Goswami (24) tried to repair the damage with a watchful fourth-wicket stand of 59 but Shakib, in his final over, snapped the partnership when he had Goswami caught at short midwicket.
Shah battled manfully to 31 off 33 balls but in the penultimate over of the innings he was stumped off the bowling of Narine.
Rajasthan’s innings was given some late momentum as Johan Botha (6 not out) and Brad Hodge (12 not out) plundered 15 runs off the last over, bowled by seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Kolkata, despite the early loss of Gautam Gambhir (11) looked well placed to secure a comfortable victory thanks to a second-wicket partnership of 48 between Jacques Kallis and Bisla (29).
But Kallis, after scoring 31 off 38 balls, was trapped leg-before by Botha before Bisla (29) was caught at deep extra cover off a delivery from left-arm spinner Menaria to leave Kolkata on 94 for three after 15 overs, still needing 37 runs for victory on a difficult wicket.
However, Manoj Tiwary (28) and Shakib, who struck a valuable 16 off 10 balls, kept their team in the hunt to set up Ten Doeschate’s explosive finish.
Menaria finished with 1-3 off a single over while Botha captured 1-22 and left-arm wrist-spinner Brad Hogg claimed 1-20 off four overs.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS - Jacques Kallis, Gautam Gambhir (capt), Manvinder Bisla (wk), Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Debabrata Das, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS – Rahul Dravid (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Ashok Menaria, Owais Shah, Brad Hodge, Johan Botha, Ankeet Chavan, Brad Hogg, Amit Singh, Siddharth Trivedi.