Knight Riders manage 150 against Pune at Eden derby
Kolkata May 5 (IANS) Kolkata Knight Riders failed to fully utilise a rollicking start and were restricted to 150/5 on a slow Eden Gardens surface against Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Saturday.
The opening stand of 113 between skipper Gautam Gambhir, who top scored with 56, and Brendan McCullum (42) threatened to carry the game away from the Warriors, who got much support from the capacity 65,000 spectators.
However, once Gambhir got out, the later order batsmen seemed to struggle, as wickets fell at regular intervals.
Gambhir led from the front, helping himself with a six over square leg in the second over itself.
Pune Warriors skipper Sourav Ganguly kept rotating his bowlers but they failed to make any impact on the opening batsmen as they continued scoring at a brisk rate. Knight Riders reached 50 in the 6th over. The bowlers erred in line and length conceding as many as nine wides in the first six overs.
Gambhir, averaging 50 in the tournament, continued his good run stroking the bowlers to all parts of the ground. He reached his 50 of just 30 balls.
As Knight Riders looked headed for an imposing total, pressure on the Warriors seemed palpable. Ashok Dinda dropped a sitter from McCullum with the batsman on 28, other fielders too were guilty of leaking away runs through shoddy fielding.
As Knight Riders posted their highest opening stand of all season (113), things looked ominous for the Pune Warriors.
But Murli Kartik, who opened the bowling, finally got the better of Gambhir 56 (36b 4x4 2x6) in the 13th over giving the Pune supporters something to cheer about.
With Sri Lankan import Angelo Mathews removing McCullum 42 (43b, 5x4, 1x6) and Jacques Kallis (1), in successive overs, Knight Riders lost much of the momentum as Pune tried to claw back into the game.
The fall of wickets continued as Knight Riders batsmen could not give the much needed impetus to the innings. Since the fall of Gambhir in the 13th over with the score at 113 the Knights could muster only 37 runs in the remaining 7.3 overs.
Steve Smith with his acrobatic fielding kept the spirit of his teammates high.
Mathews 2/17 was the pick of bowlers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/26 and Kartik 1/22 were the other wicket takers.
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