Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) showed tremendous determination and returned to winning ways at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium here on Thursday night.
Man-of-the-match Gautam Gambhir first steered his team to a modest 152 with a fourth half-century in the Pepsi-IPL-VI and thereafter deployed his resources well to eventually lead his team to a 46-run victory over Pune Warriors. It was KKR’s fifth win in 13 matches.
When the hosts started their chase, there was plenty of heat and drama surrounding a run-out appeal against Aaron Finch at the umpire’s end. Jacques Kallis was convinced that he had deflected the straight hit from Robin Uthappa off his right foot onto the stumps.
But the slow-motion replays did not offer clear-cut evidence for third umpire Simon Tauffel to convey a decision favouring the fielding side.
The South African, however, ended the same over bowling Finch after which Lakshmipathy Balaji got rid of the promoted Yuvraj Singh.
After the fall of these wickets, the home team struggled on a slow pitch with only Uthappa and Angelo Mathews offering some resistance.
It was a day when Parvez Rasool made his IPL debut for Pune Warriors. The off-spinner with a conventional action — a departure from the several with peculiar actions in this tournament — has on many occasions hinted at his tremendous potential in domestic first class tournaments and also in a warm-up game against Australia.
Rasool sparks interest
Gambhir struck him for two boundary shots in his first over in which he conceded 10 runs, but Rasool showed plenty of heart and skill to scalp the prize wicket of Kallis.
His inclusion in the playing XI, at the expense of leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, sparked the home spectators’ interest in a match the two teams took the field to compete for pride.
Beaten hollow by Mumbai Indians two days ago, KKR won the toss and opened with a brisk 45-run stand between Gambhir and Manvinder Bisla; the two have aggregated 174 as openers in 10 matches this season.
Gambhir held the innings together playing some smart cricket after the fall of Kallis and Eoin Morgan.
The slow nature of the pitch was far from conducive to free stroke-play.
It was on the back of Gambhir’s half-century and Ryan ten Doeschate’s big hits in the last four overs that the defending champion eventually managed to set a challenging 7.6-run an over chase.