The Kolkata Knight Riders got their 2011 IPL campaign up and running and the second time of asking as they beat the Deccan Chargers by nine runs at Eden Gardens on Monday.
With their two-run defeat against the Chennai Super Kings on Friday still fresh in the mind and no doubt still hurting, Gautam Gambhir opted to bat first and the batsmen produced an accomplished display as they posted an impressive 163 for four on a spinning track.
Their bowlers followed it up with a disciplined performance and the Chargers fell short by nine runs as they were restricted to 154 for eight.
Spinner Iqbal Abdullah, who finished with three for 24, set the ball rolling for the hosts when he bowled Ishank Jaggie for three. England batsman Eoin Morgan then got in on the act as his brilliant stop and direct hit found Shikhar Dhawan short of his ground after an attempted quick single.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara hit 16 from 15 balls before he was caught by Jacques Kallis at deep square leg off Rajat Bhatia. The same fielder-bowler combination also accounted for JP Duminy and Bharat Chipli’s wickets. Chipli’s dismissal proved to be the big one for Kolkata as was starting to look comfortable when he perished for 48 from 40 balls.
Dan Christian smashed a couple of sixes before he holed out to long-off while Kallis was once again the fielder when Dwaraka Ravi Teja skied one from Jaidev Unadkat. Dale Steyn also perished in the search for big hits as they slumped to 154 in their 20 overs.
The seeds for Kolkata’s victory though were planted by the batsman with Kallis continuing his good form at the top. The opener made it back-to-back half-centuries in the tournament and his 53 from 45 balls provided the rest of the batsmen a platform to launch from. Gambhir (29 from 18), Manoj Tiwary (30 from 21) and Yusuf Pathan (22 from 15) all made use of it to give the hosts a formidable score.
With the exception of spinners Amit Mishra, who finished with two for 19, and Pragyan Ojha (0/26 in four), it was another tough day at the office for the majority of Deccan’s bowlers after they took some heavy punishment during the clash against the Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.
Sangakkara and his team will no doubt go back to the drawing board on Tuesday as the Chargers are still looking for their first win after to games. Cricket365