Piyush ChawalaThough Gautam Gambhir elected to bat first at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata Knight Riders could neither get off to a rousing start nor could they post a great total. If they finally reached 171/7, it was only because of two cameos from Yusuf Pathan, who smacked 42 off 24 and Johan Botha who applied the finishing touches with 17 off 5 balls. In retrospect, however, it appeared that Gambhir’s decision was guided by the premise that the Eden Garden’s pitch would deteriorate and assist the spinners. Therefore KKR bowling line-up had included four spinners including Sunil Narine. As the game progressed and KKR won, Gambhir was justified as Piyush Chawala grabbed four wickets and none of the Daredevils’ batsmen could reach 50. With 6 victories in 11 games, KKR almost made certain that they would make the last four in this season of IPL.

Of the many opening combinations in this season of IPL, the one between Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa can easily be classified as a solid one. Though KKR lost Gautam Gambhir in the fifth over to the edge on Zaheer Khan’s out-swinger, Robin Uthappa continued at the other end. With 50 runs coming in the Power-play phase, KKR looked on sound footing. Then Amit Mishra slowed things down for KKR in a restrictive spell and when Uthappa got out at 32, KKR had reached only 63/2 in 9 overs. KKR surprised its fans by promoting Piyush Chawala to the no.4 spot but Chawala hung around for 19 balls to score 22. Manish Pandey also had an identical score in the same number of balls as Chawala took. When both these batsmen went back, the score could only reach 108/4 in the 15th over and Andre Russell’s departure made it 128/5 in the 17th. In the meanwhile Yusuf Pathan had appeared on the scene and he struck some hefty blows to spoil Imran Tahir’s figures. The upsurge from Pathan and the last over assault from Johan Botha ensured that KKR reached 171/7 in the end. It seemed that holding back Surya Kumar Yadav until late in the innings robbed KKR of some additional runs.

In the chase of 172 runs for victory, DD had a reasonably good start except their scoring rate remained on the lower side. They didn’t lose any wickets until the 10th over. But rather than capitalizing on having all wickets intact, the later order batsmen failed to get going. Once Manoj Tiwary got out, the slide began. Yuvraj collected another duck after his good show in the last match, Duminy scored 25 and Kedar Jadhav got 10. Shreyas Iyer’s 35-ball 40 was DD’s top score and in the 16th over, when Duminy got out, they were literally out of the match. But the last-ditch attempts from Saurabh Tiwary and Angelo Mathews raised hopes a DD revival. The two batsmen added 32 for the sixth wicket before Mathews was bowled by Andre Russell. With the Sri Lankan’s departure in the 19th over, it was curtains for DD as they fell short by 13 runs in the end.