Kolkata, April 24 (IANS) Riding on a rollicking start, Kolkata Knight Riders scored 159/6 in their crucial Indian Premier League match against Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens here Wednesday.
The home side’s innings was woven around some decent partnerships and useful individual contributions – a key element for success in the slam bang format. None of the batsmen scored a half-century, but three fell in their 30s, while skipper Gambhir got 26 (20b 2×4 1×6).
Opting to bat, KKR began with a bang, scoring 26 off the very first over by Harbhajan Singh. Sent in as an opener, Yusuf Pathan hit three boundaries and a towering six off the first four balls.
However, Pathan 19 (6b 3×4 1×6) departed when edged one to the slip in the very next over.
Gambhir survived a scare in the 5th over when he lobbed a ball back to bowler Lasith Malinga who could not get a hand to it. The southpaw, joining hands with all-rounder Jacques Kallis, consolidated the innings as KKR reached 50 in the 5th over.
When both batsmen looked settled and were scoring freely, left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha struck gold when the in-form Gambhir holed out in the covers.
Kallis (37; 38b 4×4 0x6) too enjoyed a retrieve in the 10th over when Johnson failed to latch on to a difficult chance in the deep off Ojha’s bowling. The South African though did not last long and was smartly caught in the covers by Rohit Sharma, the bowler being Ojha.
Local boy Manoj Tiwary, who so far has struggled with the bat, looked good, and partnered Eoin Morgan to take the Knights past 100 in the 13th over. Morgan (31; 25b 4×4 1×6) continued to torment the bowlers with his improvised shots but perished in the 18th over in his endeavour to score quick runs. Johnson once again was the wicket taker.
Home boys Tiwary and Debabrata Das found it difficult to get past Malinga’s slinging deliveries in the final over. The Sri Lankan gave away just 3 runs in the over in which he castled both Tiwary 33 (24b 2×4 1×6) and Das (6; 7b, 1×4), as the Knights managed to set an asking rate of eight per over.
Johnson, Ojha and Malinga took two wickets each.