Kolkata Knight Riders put one foot in the play-offs as Gautam Gambhir led them to a crushing seven-wicket win over Pune Warriors in Navi Mumbai on Thursday night.
After the spinners restricted Pune to just 118 for seven in their 20 overs, Kolkata’s batsmen breezed past their target with more than three overs to spare.
Gambhir led the run chase with an unbeaten 54, stroking seven boundaries in a classy innings which made sure that the Knight Riders never wobbled.
Manoj Tiwary (24) and Yusuf Pathan (29) shared in handy partnerships with their skipper, consigning Pune to their ninth defeat in 13 matches in their inaugural IPL season.
Yuvraj Singh had top-scored for Pune with 24 and ex-Kolkata legend Sourav Ganguly struck 18, but that was as good as it got for struggling Pune on a slow track at the DY Patil Stadium.
Pathan took two crucial wickets for the visitors as he had both Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa caught, while Bangladeshi allrounder Shakib Al Hasan returned figures of 2 for 16 from his four overs.
Lakshmipathy Balaji bowled just one over – the last one in the Pune innings – but dismissed Yuvraj and Sachin Rana to ensure that there would be no late fireworks from the home side.
Knight Riders captainGambhir had won the toss and opted to bowl first as they dropped Jaidev Unadkat and Mark Boucher and brought in Shakib Al Hasan and Ryan ten Doeschate – while Shreevats Goswami replaced England sign-off Eoin Morgan.
Victory for Kolkata moved them up to third on the IPL table with 16 points, where they lead the Mumbai indians on net run-rate.
That means that the Kings XI must beat the Deccan Chargers in their final fixture on Saturday, and hope to squeeze through on net run rate should Mumbai lose their final two fixtures, or beat Kolkata in their final fixture of the season. Cricket365