MS Dhoni had predictably opened the bowling with R Ashwin after a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay that revised Kolkata Knight Riders’ victory target to 66 in nine overs. The off-spinner removed Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir to make the hosts jittery. The former was done in by the loop and turn as MS Dhoni completed a smart stumping. Gambhir was caught plumb in front. Yusuf Pathan was lucky to survive a very confident leg before shout.
But Pune didn’t have runs to play with, the ball became heavy and Pathan took on Ashwin in his second over, taking two fours and two sixes. Ashok Dinda had conceded 13 runs in the previous over and the visitors’ slim hopes quickly evaporated. Kolkata won the match by eight wickets (D/L method) with 24 balls remaining to move to 14 points from 11 matches. Pathan scored 37 not out off 18 balls (4×4, 3×6) to make things very comfortable for them.
Earlier, Pune won the toss on a turning Eden Gardens pitch and decided to bat first. Losing Ajinkya Rahane early was a blow but Usman Khawaja and George Bailey tried to repair the damage. Both got starts but departed at the wrong time. By then, however, the ball had been turning square. Midway into Pune’s innings, it became almost impossible to hit through the line. Pune had laboured to 103/6 in 17.4 overs.
Brief scores: Pune 103/6 in 17.4 overs [Khawaja 21 (17b, 3×4), Bailey 33 (27b, 3×4, 1×6); Chawla 2/21 (13x0s)]. Kolkata 66/2 in 5 ovs [Yusuf 37* (18b, 4×4, 3×6); Ashwin 2/30 (4x0s)]. KKR won by 8 wickets (D/L method)