Pathan propels KKR to victory in rain-hit tie

Pathan propels KKR to victory in rain-hit tie

Pathan propels KKR to victory in rain-hit tie
Kolkata Knight Riders today jumped to second spot in the team standings after Yusuf Pathan powered them to an eight wicket win against Rising Pune Supergiants in a rain-affected tie of the Indian Premier League here today.

The in-form Yusuf Pathan (37 off 18) helped KKR make short work of the Duckworth-Lewis target of 66 runs. The hosts had nine overs to get home but Pathan ensured they raced to the finishing line in just five overs.

Pune had earlier struggled to 103 for six when rain stopped play for a little more than two hours.

The win pushed KKR to second spot in the standings with 14 points from 11 games.

Pune, who are out of the competition, remained at the bottom of the table.

The start to the short chase was exciting with Pune's premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin dismissing openers Robin Uthappa and opposition captain Gautam Gambhir in the very first over of the innings.

Uthappa was stumped on a viciously turning ball that ended up being a wide on the leg side while Gambhir was foxed by a straighter one off Ashwin.

In walked Pathan and tilted the game in his team's over by hammering Ashwin for two sixes and as many fours in his second over, also settling the nerves in the KKR dug out. Eventually, he got the team home comfortably in the company of Manish Pandey (15 off 10).

Earlier, KKR had Pune in a real spot of bother with the visitors struggling to 103/6 in 17.4 overs when rain interrupted play at the Eden Gardens.

Legspinner Piyush Chawla claimed 2/21 with 13 dot balls while offie Sunil Narine, returning after two matches, gave away a miserly 10 runs from 3.4 overs bowling 14 dot balls to win the spin battle against MS Dhoni and Co.

With KKR spinners making full use of the conditions, the otherwise devastating Dhoni crawled to eight runs from 22 balls, as his counterpart Gautam Gambhir relished the challenge, deploying four fielders around the Indian skipper.

Pune at one stage were at 70/3 and when Dhoni walked in they were 74/4 in 10.3 overs but by the time the rain interrupted the proceedings their run-rate had slipped to less than six.

Opting to bat on a turning surface, Pune failed to get going at the top with Russell giving the first breakthrough in the third over.

Trying to hit across the line, Rahane (two) played on a wide delivery as Russell gave KKR a perfect start bowling in tandem with More Morkel for four overs. 

Aussie duo of Usman Khawaja and George Bailey perished to spinners after Gambhir introduced Shakib in the fifth over.

Khawaja (21 from 17 balls; 3x4) was playing freely but the Bangladeshi leftarm spinner dismissed the Aussie in his first over when the lefthander smacked straight to Suryakumar Yadav at square-leg.

The pitch started turning and there was all-spin attack from both ends with Chawla introduced in the 11th over. The legspinner brilliantly stumped Bailey (33 from 27 balls; 3x4, 1x6).

In between rookie medium pacer Ankit Rajpoot, playing his first match this season, removed Saurabh Tiwary as Dhoni promoted Irfan Pathan at No 5 to step up their run-rate.

But the Knights spin trio revelled in the conditions.

An interesting Gambhir versus Dhoni battle came to fore when the KKR skipper brought on two slips, a short leg and silly point against the Indian captain and added a fifth fielder at short cover with Chawla bowling a tidy spell.

With Dhoni taking a cautious route, Gambhir was quick to introduce Narine in the next over and the Trinidadian was tidy , giving away just four runs.

Dhoni struggled to keep the flow and to add to his misery his batting partner Irfan was no match to his running.

As it turned out, Pathan became the victim of a runout when he sacrificed his wicket for Dhoni with utter confusion taking place between the two.

Both teams made two changes with Dhoni giving Irfan his second match of the season while a fit-again Murugan Ashwin also returned after two matches, replacing Rajat Bhatia and RP Singh.

A fit-again Narine, who was nursing a finger injury, was back for KKR after two matches replacing Brad Hogg while Rajpoot replaced Umesh Yadav.  

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