KKR march to 47 run win at home
Gautam Gambhir’s knock and a disciplined effort from his bowlers on a difficult pitch helped the Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 47 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday night.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Gambhir enjoyed two lives in three balls when on 5 and 13 on his way to 93 off 51 balls. The rest of his innings was chanceless as he took on every bowler Daniel Vettori could throw at him. The usually fluent offside play was missing but Gambhir played with great intensity to guide his team to the highest total at the Eden Gardens this season.
The pull shot earned him as many as four boundaries and four sixes over the midwicket to deep square leg region as he used the slowness of the pitch to play the ball late. Short balls banged in sat up nicely to be hit and Gambhir’s free flowing hitting at one end allowed Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis to settle in at the other end.
Some poor fielding from RCB helped them too as hits to the deep were converted into boundaries and catches were palmed. Gambhir made 93 off 51b (4x9, 6x5), McCullum 43 off 37b (4x8) and Kallis 41 off 27 (4x1, 6x3) as KKR posted 190/4 in their 20 overs.
Vinay Kumar’s last over fetched him two wickets and he finished on 2/31 while Vettori (1/29) and Zaheer (1/48) got the wickets of McCullum and Gambhir respectively.
Yusuf Pathan (1/19) shrugged off his indifferent form with both bat and ball to dismiss Dilshan in the first over of RCB’s chase. Kohli (18) came out playing positive cricket but the last over of the powerplay saw Kallis dismiss both him and AB de Villiers off successive deliveries. The first was with a ball that stayed low to catch Kohli LBW and the second with a short ball that took the top edge of AB’s bat and ballooned to be caught at mid-on, leaving RCB reeling at 35/3.
Before that had come a bizarre delivery where McCullum failed to hold on to a knick from Kohli off Narine, disturbed the bails with his gloves, caught the ball after it bounced and appealed vociferously for a dismissal.
Tiwary and Gayle played safely but just couldn’t find an opportunity to cut loose against KKR’s first and second change bowlers. Their struggles to time the ball highlighted the brilliance of Gambhir’s knock and the difficulty reading Narine was a whole new set of problems.
Scoreboard pressure and the absolute discipline of the KKR bowlers against Gayle saw Tiwary (19) perish as he tried to take on Rajat Bhatia in the 13th over. The setback saw Gayle go back into a defensive mode and the required run rate slip a bit further.
Every good over for RCB was followed by a tight one from KKR, by the time Gayle began to tee off it was too late. Mayank Agarwal (10) fell to a Narine (1/11) delivery he failed to read in the 18th over while Gayle carted Kallis (2/31), Bhatia (1/41) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (1/5) around the ground to reach 86 off 58 (4x7, 6x6) and take the Orange Cap away from RR’s Ajinkya Rahane.
It all proved too late and too little as KKR superbly used their knowledge of home conditions to seal a 47 run win and consolidate their position at no.2 on the points table. RCB remain in 4th position but the results of games tomorrow could see them slip to 5th or 6th in the points table.