(The Times Of India)
A challenging wicket provides a gripping contest. Not necessarily between the teams but at least between the bat and ball. This was on display when Pune Warriors tried to spoil Kolkata Knight Riders’ party at the DY Patil stadium on Thursday night.
The ‘contest’ was largely limited to Pune’s innings only as their aspiration to beat the Big Brother remained just a wish. KKR hammered them by seven wickets with more than three overs to spare. The win gives them a remote chance to finish in the top-two.
Pune will visit Delhi for Saturday’s game in a match to avoid the wooden-spoon while Adam Gilchrist’s Kings XI Punjab are almost out of playoff contention due to their inferior net run rate.
Yusuf Pathan made good use of a promotion despite being clueless on many occasions. Batting at No. 4, he made 29 off 25. Surprisingly, the fours came behind point before that trademark six off Bhuvnesh Kumar over long-on.
Captain Gambhir (54, 46b, 7x4s) was his usual self: crafty yet quiet; effective but not belligerent. The target of 119 looked child’s play for his team. Pune’s sloppy fielding came as unwanted bonus and without enough runs on the board, leggie Rahul Shrama wasn’t a big weapon.
Kolkata won the toss, opted to bowl and restricted Pune Warriors to 118 for seven. The anticipated Dada vs Kolkata contest never happened. Ganguly played 19 balls before hitting his first boundary and ran 12 singles. He struggled all through and fell for 18.