Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab

At Kinsmead, Durban, McCullum won the toss again today for KKR & this time decided to field field.
Kings XI Punjab started with Karan Goel & Ravi Bopara, but the destructive Goel was consumed early by Ishant Sharma with the score on 9. Pathan was sent in to pinch hit & he did not disappoint his Captain with an entertaining 32 off just 17 deliveries. Just as when KXIP looked like running away with the match, Ganguly came in to bowl & in his first over itself claimed two big wickets of Bopara & Pathan to peg back the batting side. At the end of 10 overs, Yuvi in company with Sangakara had taken KXIP to 67 for 3. Yuvi had survived a narrow escape in the deep, when Yashpal Singh had took a delightful catch, but unfortunately let the ball touch the ground.
After the break, Saurav started with the ball, but a streaky edge for four by Sanga & a pull for six by Yuvi left the Prince of Kolkata fuming. Chris Gayle at the other end kept leaking wides, & the batting total swelled without a worry. In two overs, the bowlers had given away 28 runs. Partnership was worth 50 runs off just 36 deliveries, while Ganguly finished his quota of 4 overs with 2 for 24…. Very impressive figures in this form of the game. Sanga finally got run out for 26 off 24 deliveries, & in walked Jayawardane. Yuvi started opening up, smashing the ball as he normally does, but just when it seemed that it would be his day, he holed out in the deep & Yashpal Singh did no mistake this time. Yuvi had contributed 38. Next in was Taruwar Kohli. 123 for 5, & Kartick came into bowl, giving away a boundary off the first ball. Dinda on the other end got Kohli out caught behind, bringing Piyush Chawla to the crease. Jayawardane stepped up the scoring & got 31 for only 19 deliveries, & finally it was 158 for 6 for the KXIP….. a fairly good score to defend. KKR had been handed a teasing target, & the opening pair would have to bat really well to stay in the reckoning.

KKR, as expected started with Brenden McCullum & Chris Gayle, & it was Irfan Pathan with the ball & he immediately got into a very good length & line. At the other end it was the burly Yusuf Abdulla with the ball opening the attack & he got Gayle to give a simple chance that was floored by Goel at midwicket, who looked like having a poor match. Runs looked difficult to come by initially as both the openers, known for their ballistic hitting, kept poking uncertainly, until Gayle hit Pathan & Yusuf for a six each. McCullum also came into the stride & one more six resulted. Gayle cut loose along with McCullum & KKR posted 50 runs in the 6th over, before Mccullum got caught behind to the faintest of the nick. In walked Brad Hodge instead of Ganguly probably to keep the left-right combination. It was 60 for 1 at the end of 6 overs, wonderful start for KKR in a long time. Malik & Piyush Chawla into the attack, contained the scoring for a while, before a drizzle turned into a downpour forcing the players back in the dugout. At 79 for 1 in 9.2 overs, KKR were slightly ahead of KXIP in the Duckworth Lewis calculations. Gayle had been simply fascinating & KXIP would rue the two missed chances against him.
Finally, the rains proved to be the spoilsport, & KXIP were on the wrong side of a truncated match, twice in a row. Hope Yuvi has better luck in matches ahead. KKR get their first points, winning by 11 runs through D-L method, & giving Shahrukh Khan something to cheer for.

Man of the Match was an obvious choice in Gayle.
In a post match interview Shahrukh Khan went on to praise Saurav as the best Dada ever. SRK, being as candid as ever, believes that Dada would be the player of the tournament & silence all his critics….(Korbo Lodbo Jitbo re….)strong words……only time will say……..