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December 16, 2007
Delhi Jets 145 for 5 (Atapattu 75*) beat Kolkata Tigers 141 for 7 by five wickets
Marvan Atapattu hit an unbeaten 75 from 56 balls to lead Delhi Jets to a five-wicket victory over Kolkata Tigers in their third-place playoff in Panchkula. Atapattu's decision to field first was vindicated with his bowlers doing a tidy job to keep Tigers to 141 - five of six bowlers used picked up a wicket - and the former Sri Lankan batsman capped a good tournament with a cool half-century in a tense match that went into the final over.
While Monish Mishra and Niall O'Brien, another overseas import, fell early Atapattu began carefully, just picking up singles with the odd boundary. With the score on 41, Atapattu was given a reprieve when the umpire didn't refer a run-out appeal. Atapattu was airborne, with neither the bat nor his feet grounded behind the crease, as a direct hit came in from cover. Craig McMillan, the Kolkata captain, was clearly miffed at proceedings but Atapattu continued to tick along.
Into the twenties, he picked up the tempo with aggressive pulls and sweeps. In the 15th over Syed Abbas Ali, his partner in a 57-run third-wicket association, was run out for 22 and shortly afterwards Jai P Yadav hit a full toss to mid-off, but Atapattu was continued without a worry. He kept the run rate under control, judged the singles well, and took 12 runs from the penultimate over to effectively seal the deal. First ball of the 20th over, Atapattu rocked back and slapped a four to finish it off.
Having chosen to field, Atapattu's bowlers rocked Tigers early. Deep Dasgupta (28 from 25 balls) offered the only resistance but when he departed at 45 for 4 in the eighth over it looked tough for Tigers. Shibsagar Singh, with an unbeaten 30 from 20 balls, and McMillan, with a robust 27 from No. 8, did well but ultimately a risk-free, calculated effort from Atapattu proved the most profitable.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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