Ganguly, Unadkat script comprehensive win for Kolkata.
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 18th April 2010
Kolkata kept its slender semifinal holders alive with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the DLF IPL3 match at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Shane Warne’s team disappointed in a must-win game and was battered into submission by another vintage knock by Ganguly (75 not out). The Kolkata skipper supplemented the efforts of his bowlers who came back to restrict the visitors to a below par score of 132 for nine. Rajasthan wasted a typical aggressive start from Shane Watson who punished the erring medium pacers with a series of boundaries. But the Kolkata bowlers gathered their wits on the sluggish pitch and did the basics right. They were supported by excellent catching that saw Ganguly roll back his years to pull off a blinder. The Kolkata bowlers took the pace off the ball and Watson after muscling his way to 44 off 26 balls fell to a slow off cutter from Laxmi Ratan Shukla. Naman Ohja should consider himself unlucky as he smashed a poor ball from left-arm medium pacer Unadkat to the point where Shukla flung himself to the left to take a brilliant catch.
The Rajasthan goose was cooked when Pathan who was promoted up the order fell to another brilliant diving catch by Ganguly. Pathan trying to loft Unadkat was undone was a slower ball and only managed to sky it to deep mid-wicket. Ganguly ran back and made the last minute dive to complete a good catch.
Ashok Dinda prised out Voges as Rajasthan plunged into further trouble. Kolkata choked the flow of runs and batsmen weren’t innovative to manipulate the field. Shockingly the last six overs off the innings produced a measly 31 runs and came at a loss of five wickets. Though the pitch played its part, Rajasthan made runs which were inadequate and Warne was seen shaking his head from the dug-out. Kolkata needed a big win for its negative run-rate to come down but Kamran Khan dismissed McCullum and Gayle in the third over to push the hosts on the back foot. However, Ganguly led from the front. He soaked up pressure and sized up the pitch before opening out. He coaxed Cheteshwar Pujara to lift his game and the two sitched together a record third wicket stand for Kolkata in the history of IPL. The key to the partnership was the way the two paced up the innings. Warne used his slow bowlers to thwart the freestroking batsmen but they were clever enough enough to rotate the strike and when opportunity presented punished the loose deliveries. The target wasn’t intimidating and both Ganguly and Pujra opened up towards the end to shore up their run-rate. Adam Voges’ opening over went for 16 runs and Fazal was sent to the cleaners as Knight Riders won with 3.5 overs to spare. It was a much needed win for Kolkata but they will have to lift their game a few notches to beat Mumbai by a big margin in an away match to qualify for the semifinals.