Riders beat Warriors to stay in race
Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders scored a convincing 46-run win over an ever-struggling Pune Warriors, to keep alive their outside hopes of qualifying for the play-off stage of the ongoing Pepsi Indian Premier League.
Opting to bat, KKR first rode on skipper Gautam Gambhir’s 50 and a late surge by Ryan ten Doeschate (31 off 21) to post a challenging 152 for six, and then dished out a clinical bowling performance to bowl out Pune for 106 in 19.3 overs.
By virtue of this win, KKR has moved up to 10 points from 12 games. But in order to stand in with an outside chance of making it to the play-offs, the defending champions need to win all their remaining three games.
Pune witnessed a horrible start to their run chase as their batsmen found the going tough against a disciplined KKR attack and scored just 41 runs for the loss of three wickets at the halfway stage.
Pune lost skipper Aaron Finch, star player Yuvraj Singh and Udit Birla in quick succession.
While Finch was bowled by Jacques Kallis (2/27), Yuvraj nicked an away going Laxipathy Balaji (3/19) delivery to Manvinder Bisla behind the stumps.
Birla’s stay at the crease was a struggle which finally came to an end when Iqbal Abdulla (2/26) went through his defence.
Robin Uthappa (31 off 35) tried hard to hang in there but the ever-climbing asking rate finally took its toll on him. He was caught by Gambhir at backward point off Abdullah.
Angelo Mathews played a rearguard 28-ball 40-run knock but that was not enough to save Pune from slumping to its 11th defeat in the tournament.
Earlier, Pune wasted a good start by leaking runs in the death overs to allow Kolkata Knight Riders post the challenging total.
KKR were in a spot of bother at 99 for five at one stage, but Pune bowlers gave away a whopping 53 runs in the final four overs to help the visitors cross the 150-run mark.
Off-spinner Parveez Rasool (1/23), the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to play in the IPL, leaked nine runs in his opening over.
But Rasool came back strongly in the next over and dismissed big man Kallis to pick up his first wicket of the tournament. Kallis was caught by Mathews at short cover of a fuller delivery from the off-spinner.