Fiery Ganguly leads Knights charge

Fiery Ganguly leads Knights charge

Dadagiri:  Sourav Ganguly celebrates after guiding Kolkata Knight Riders to a win over Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. PTI

Captain Ganguly played sheet anchor in KKR’s run chase of 133 as he carried his bat through the innings, hitting 11 fours and two sixes in 50 balls to help his side reach the target with 23 balls to spare in front of the home crowd at the Eden Gardens.

Chetshwar Pujara gave him able support with an unbeaten 38-ball 45 which was studded with five fours and a six as the duo shared run-a-ball 80-run partnership for the unfinished third wicket.

Ganguly hit the winning runs, a single, off Aaron Finch as the home side reached 133 for two in 16.1 overs. Earlier, electing to bat, Rajasthan Royals could make 132 for nine with Shane Watson top-scoring with a 26-ball 44. After the win, KKR still have an outside chance to qualify for the semifinals with 12 points from 13 matches and a net run rate of -0.456.

They still need to beat table toppers Mumbai Indians at the same venue on April 19 in their last league match to have any chance of qualifying for the semifinals. With the loss, Rajasthan Royals ended their hopes of making it to the semifinals. They have 12 points after their last league match.

KKR looked like they wanted to win the match in quick time to shore up their net run rate with Ganguly and his opening partner Brendon McCullum smashing 21 runs in first two overs. Ganguly smashed two fours off Yusuf Pathan in the first over and then followed them with another off Shane Watson in the second over before KKR was pegged back by two quick wickets in a space of three balls in the third over bowled by Kamran Khan.

McCullum (6), who opened along with Ganguly instead of Chris Gayle, was the first to go as he offered a Kamran full toss for a simple catch to square leg fielder Shane Watson.
Gayle followed McCullum two balls later for a duck to leave KKR at 22 for two. The dismissal of two big hit ters seemed to have bo-om-eranged KKR plans for a quick win and Ganguly and next man in Cheteshwar Pujara retreated into a shell before opening up in spectacular fashion.

Earlier, rookie left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat took three wickets as Kolkata restricted Royals for 132 for nine.

SCOREBOARD

RAJASTHAN ROYALS: Shane Watson b Shukla 44; Naman Ojha c Shukla b Unadkat 18; Yusuf Pathan     c Ganguly b Unadkat 8; Aaron Finch b Bond 21; Adam Voges c Kartik b Dinda 8; Abhishek Raut c Gayle b Unadkat 2; Paras Dogra b Kartik 8; Faiz Fazal (run out) 13; Shane Warne (not out) 3; Siddarth Trivedi c Unadkat b Dinda 4; Kamran Khan (not out) 0; Extras: (B-1, W-2) 3; Total (for 9 wickets, 20 overs) 132

Fall of wickets: 1-59, 2-69, 3-74, 4-98, 5-101, 6-103, 7-115, 8-126, 9-130.
Bowling: Shane Bond 4-1-20-1, Ashok Dinda 4-0-24-2, Murali Kartik 4-0-31-1, Jaidev Unadkat 4-0-26-3, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 4-0-30-1.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Sourav Ganguly (not out) 75; Brendon McCullum c Watson b Kamran     6; Chris Gayle b Kamran 0; Cheteshwar Pujara (not out) 45; Extras (w-7) 7; Total (For 2 wkts, 16.1 overs)    133.

Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-22

Bowling: Yusuf Pathan 3-0-32-0, Shane Watson 3-0-17-0, Kamran Khan 2-0-13-2, Siddharth Trivedi 2-0-16-0, Shane Warne 3-0-20-0, Aaron Finch 1.1-0-5-0, Adam Voges 1-0-16-0, Faiz Fazal 1-0-14-0.

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