Narine, De Lange inspire Kolkata
The Kolkata Knight Riders pulled off a narrow seven-run win in their IPL match against the Pune Warriors at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday thanks to the brilliance of spin wizard Sunil Narine and fast bowler Marchant de Lange.
The hosts scored 150 for five, and Pune managed 143 for eight in reply.
Pune, however, came within a whisker of a win thanks to an excellent all-round performance by Angelo Mathews.
It looked as if Mathews would take them to victory when the visitors still needed 22 runs off twelve deliveries for a win.
Mathews, who had shared in a partnership of 73 off 56 deliveries with Sourav Ganguly for the sixth wicket earlier on, was still at the crease at the start of the penultimate over.
But the mystery spinner Narine, who has been a revelation with twelve wickets and an economy rate of 5.53 before the game started, produced a magnificent penultimate over.
He conceded only four runs, and finished with the figures of 1-13 in four overs.
De Lange was given the ball for the final over and did not disappoint, removing Mathews and conceding only 11 runs.
De Lange made the double break with the new ball as well, and finished with the credible figures of 3-34 in four overs. Mathews scored 35 off 27 balls, with three sixes.
Ganguly slammed 36 off 35 balls, with four fours and a six before he miscued a delivery by Rajat Bhatia and was caught by Iqbal Abdulla.
Mathews dispatched three straight leg-side sixes in the fifteenth over off Yusuf Pathan to reduce the target to 42 off 30 balls, well within Pune’s reach.
But Narine had other ideas and the visitors had to settle for 143 for eight in their twenty overs.
It was Mathews’ inspired bowling spell of 2-17 in four overs that limited the hosts to 150 for five earlier on.
They looked destined to score beyond 200 as Gautam Gambhir (56 off 36 balls, four fours and two sixes) and Brendon McCullum (42 off 43 deliveries with five fours and a six) reached the halfway mark on 98 without loss and eventually shared in an opening partnership of 113 in 12.3 overs.
But Mathews used the slower variations well and he and the spinner Murali Kartik (1-22) only allowed 23 runs between the eleventh and fifteen overs.
Mathews trapped McCullum in front and removed Jacques Kallis with a superb slower ball in his next over for only a single.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar captured 2-26 to frustrate Kolkata even more as he removed Pathan (11) and Laxmi Shukla (0) with cleverly camouflaged slower balls.
Set a target of 151, Pune started shakily, with De Lange’s double strike giving the home side the edge.
He bowled Michael Clarke with his first delivery for a single after the ball clipped the bails off his pads.
Robin Uthappa went after the young fast bowler in his next over, but holed out to Laxmi Shukla at cover for 16, as Pune slipped to 28 for two.
Manish Pandey attempted a six off spinner Abdulla but sliced it to Debabrata Das at wide long-off and was gone for 17.
Pune’s slide continued in the eighth over when Mithun Manhas played a poor pull shot off a shortish delivery by Jacques Kallis and was well caught by Abdulla for a single, leaving Pune in trouble on 53 for four.
Steven Smith, a revelation with the bat in the middle order in the first few games for Pune, was adjudged to be trapped in front by Narine in his first over.
A bitterly disappointed Smith left the scene with his score on 14, and it was clear from the replay that he had feathered the ball onto his front pad.
That left Pune in heaps of trouble on 55 for five after nine overs.
But Ganguly, supported by a large part of the 67 140 crowd – his former home crowd – scored three early boundaries to set the ball rolling.
Mathews weighed in with those three sixes off Pathan and took them closer to the total.
Narine turned the ball appreciably in the penultimate over.
When Wayne Parnell was run out in attempting a second run, and Narine conceded only four runs, the visitors were with their backs against the wall.
De Lange bowled well in the final over, with Shukla completing a smart catch at long on to send Mathews back and give the tall South African quickie his third scalp.
With the win, Kolkata have entrenched themselves in the No 2 spot on the IPL log.
Pune are still second from the bottom after seven losses in their last eight matches.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Brendon McCullum (wk), Gautum Gambhir (capt), Laxmi Shukla, Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Rajat Bhatia, Debabrata Das, Sunil Narine, Marchant de Lange, Iqbal Abdulla
PUNE WARRIORS: Jesse Ryder, Michael Clarke, Saurav Ganguly (capt), Steven Smith, Robin Uthappa, Mithun Manhas (wk), Angelo Matthews, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Murali Kartik, Ashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda.