Knights hand Rajasthan a royal defeat at Eden (Roundup)

Kolkata, May 3 (IANS) Backed by superlative bowling and decent batting, Kolkata Knight Riders handed Rajasthan Royals a crushing eight-wicket defeat to keep alive their feeble chances of making it to the play-off in their Indian Premier League here Friday.

After restricting the Royals to 132/6, the Kinghts overhauled their rivals’ score with 16 balls to spare. Jacques Kallis (33 not out; 30b, 2×4, 1×6) hit Brad Hogg for a boundary over the bowler’s head to carry his side to 133/2, and finish the Eden Gardens game.

For the Knights, Yusuf Pathan made an unbeaten 49 (35b 3×4 3×6) – his highest score for the city franchise so far, to take his team home.

For the Royals, Ankeet Chavan (1/28) and Shane Watson (1/21) were the wicket takers.

Chasing a modest target, the Knights started of briskly as openers Gautam Gambhir and Manvinder Bisla kept the home crowd entertained with some stupendous hitting.

Bisla, who earlier scored a blistering 92 against Chennai Super Kings for a losing cause, was in an attacking mood. The duo added 41 runs in five overs before Gambhir 12 (14b 1×4) was stumped off the bowling of Shane Watson. Bisla 29 (25b 4×4 1×6) followed soon, and walked in Yusuf Pathan.

He seemed in fine fettle, clobbering a few sixes and partnered Jacques Kallis to take Kolkata past the 100 run mark in the 13th over.

With just 31 required of the last seven overs, the hosts looked firm favourite to wrap up the match in quick time. Both Pathan and Kallis played sensibly as the Knights inched closer to a hand Rajasthan a royal defeat.

The duo knocked down the required 31 runs in just 26 balls to cruise to an eight wicket victory.

Earlier, up against a decent bowling performance by the hosts on a slow turning wicket, the visitors could manage to reach only 132/6. Packed with spinners and medium pacers, the Knights kept a tight leash on the visitors as their batsmen struggled to score and perished gradually in the endeavour to step up the run rate.

For the visitors, Sanju Samson top scored with 40 while for the Knights offie Sachithra Senanayeke bowled splendidly to return figures of 2/26.

Opting to bat first, Royals made a slow start managing only 34 runs, losing two wicketsin the first six overs.

However, opener Shane Watson who has been in red hot form partnered Sanju Samson to consolidate the innings as the duo added 44 runs in 6.2 overs to take the total to 71.

With wickets tumbling at the other end Samson played a key innings to take his team past 100 in the 15thover.

The Knights bowlers bowled economically conceding only 30 runs and taking two wickets in the last five overs to restrict the visitors to a below par score.

Sunil Narine and Rajat Bhatia were at their miserly best to returns figures of 1/20 and 1/21 respectively.

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