Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ganguly goes ballistic as KKR crush Chargers

Ageing warhorse Sourav Ganguly played a blistering 54-ball 88 as Kolkata Knight Riders moved up to the fifth slot with a 24-run victory over Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League here Thursday. 

The Hyderabad-based Chargers, needing to score at a challenging asking rate of 9.1 per over to overhaul the Knight Riders' total of 181/6, could manage only 157/5 as they saw their runs drying up towards the end before 45,000 delirious fans at the Eden Gardens. 

Cruising comfortably at 77/1 in the ninth over, with Harschelle Gibbs (50) and Manish Mishra (29 of 16 balls) calling the shots, the tourists saw their plans go haywire as both fell to soft dismissals. Mishra threw away his wicket by spooning a catch to Manoj Tiwary at long on. 

The Kolkata bowlers turned in a fine bowling performance with Shane Bond, Murali Kartik and Angelo Mathews being the most economical, picking up one wicket each, mainly responsible for dyring up Deccan's run chase.

Earlier, Ganguly was in splendid touch and hit nine fours and five sixes en route a fine innings despite losing opening partner Chris Gayle early after winning the toss and electing to bat here. The left-hander combined well with David Hussey for a 78-run stand to set up the Knight Riders innings.

Deccan began on a strong note as Andrew Symonds got rid of Chris Gayle and Cheteshwar Pujara early, before Manoj Tiwary was bowled by Pragyan Ojha as Kolkata slipped to 68-3 when Ganguly and Hussey came together. The Australian played a fine cameo of 31 from 27 balls but perished soon after Ganguly's dismissal.

Both sides have lacked in consistency in the tournament but stand a fair chance to go through the semi-finals. The last time they squared off, Kolkata got the better of Deccan in a high-intensity opening rubber in Mumbai.

Kolkata Knight Riders 181 for 6 (Ganguly 88, Hussey 31, Symonds 2-26, Jaskaran 2-18) beat Deccan Chargers 157 for 5 (Gibbs 50, Symonds 45) by 24 runs

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