Scoring 20 runs from the first two over,the Pune Warriors openers,Aaron Finch and Robin Uthappa,had given their team a fine start. At that point,the target of 153,that Kolkata Knight Riders set for them,seemed achievable. But soon the script changed and took a predictable course. With just two batsmen reaching doubles figures,the home team suffered a 46-run loss,their 11th this season,to remain at the bottom of the table.
It was Jacques Kallis’ eventful first over,the third of the inning,that started the Pune slide. Uthappa punched the first delivery from Kallis straight down the ground. The ball travelling at a fair clip,crashed into the stumps and Kallis appealed for Finch’s dismissal as the non-striker was stranded out of the crease. But umpire Sudhir Asnani didn’t think that the ball had grazed Kallis’s boot on the way to the stumps. Finch was to survive the scare.
But the 37-year-old South African had his revenge two balls later. Kallis’s slow off-cutter beat Finch for both pace and bounce and hit the off-stumps. It was all down hill after that. No.3 Yuvraj Singh failed to negotiate Lakshmipathy Balaji’s sharp away-going ball in the next over. The ball pitched on good length and seamed away. Yuvraj was too late to take his bat away as he edged the ball into the keeper’s hands.
Suddenly,KKR’s total of 152 looked too far away. The next 11 overs produced just 56 runs with Iqbal Abdullah,Rajat Bhatia,Sunil Narine and Ryan ten Doeschate slowing the run-flow to a trickle. Angelo Mathews offered a brief flicker of hope for the home fans with a big hits but with no support from the other end,KKR had the game in their control.
Sunil Narine,in the 16th over the inning,snapped Mathews. In his next over the West Indian got rid off Wayne Parnell. Balaji returned to polish off the tail to end up with three for 19 off 21 balls. Pune folded up for 106,losing by 46 runs.
Earlier,KKR opted to bat after winning the toss and zoomed to 50 for one in the power-play. Pune finally gave Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Parvez Rasool his debut. The off-spinner conceded 23 off his four overs and picked up the prized scalp of Kallis,foxing him with a clever change of pace.
It looked like KKR had gotten stuck in a rut with just one boundary being scored from overs six to 12. Skipper,Gautam Gambhir struck a well-paced half-century and managed to keep the scoreboard ticking. The bane of the Pune franchise over the season has been their death bowling and the problem continued. KKR scored 56 runs in the last five overs,with Ryan ten Doeschate,Manoj Tiwary and Rajat Bhatia going for broke. As length balls and full tosses were dispatched all over the park Kolkata reached 152. With Pune batsmen not showing stomach for a fight,the modest score proved insurmountable.
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 152 for 6 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 50,Ryan ten Doeschate 31; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3/25); Pune Warriors 106 all out in 19.3 overs (Angelo Mathews 40,Robin Uthappa 31; Laxmipathy Balaji 3/19)