Kallis shines in Kolkata's home victory
Kolkata Knight Riders 163 for 4 (Kallis 53) beat Deccan Chargers 154 for 8 (Chipli 48, Abdulla 3-24) by nine runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It could be the overdose of cricket, or the absence of their adored hometown hero Sourav Ganguly, or just that it was a Monday night; whatever the reason, it was only a sparse crowd at Eden Gardens as Kolkata Knight Riders eased to victory in their first home game of the season. On a turning track where the ball kept low, Kolkata's batsmen all chipped in to put up the highest total of the tournament so far, which proved sufficient against Deccan Chargers.
Jacques Kallis provided another launchpad for the innings, with a controlled half-century filled with off-driven boundaries. He wasn't overly troubled by the new-ball attack of Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma, but the introduction of spin slowed the scoring as Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra teased the batsmen on a helpful pitch.
Kallis' opening partner Manvinder Bisla's scratchy stay ended soon after the fifty stand came up, as he missed a straighter one from Mishra. Kallis employed the sweep effectively against the spinners, and started to punish the part-time offerings of JP Duminy and Ravi Teja. A powerful swipe off Duminy got him to a second consecutive fifty, but he perished next ball as he attempted to clear midwicket again.
Gautam Gambhir, back in the familiar territory of No. 3 after batting down the order in the opening match, hardly needed power as he picked off boundaries behind square. Manoj Tiwary's batting was more muscular, slogging two big leg-side sixes in one Duminy over. Yusuf Pathan also provided the Kolkata fans something to cheer as he unleashed his brand of power-hitting to club three boundaries off Steyn's final two overs.
Mishra was the best of the Deccan bowlers, mixing in the googlies and sliders with his stock legspinner to trouble the Kolkata batting. Gambhir is widely reputed to be among the best players of spin in the country, and Mishra had the satisfaction of foxing him with a delivery that slid on to take middle stump. Mishra ended with 4-0-19-2 despite bowling two overs at the end of the innings.
The lack of pace in the Kolkata attack worked in their favour during the chase as the ball didn't come on to the bat, making it difficult for the Deccan batsmen to play their shots. Left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla squeezed the runs early on and he bowled Ishank Jaggi, who attempted an awful slog after struggling to 3 off eight balls. Soon after, Eoin Morgan pulled off a stunning piece of fielding to send back Shikhar Dhawan - diving to stop the ball at cover, and rifling in a direct hit while still on his knees.
The Deccan batting depends heavily on their three overseas signings: Kumar Sangakkara, JP Duminy and Dan Christian. Sangakkara and Duminy fell cheaply, both providing catching practice to Kallis in the deep, and it was left to little-known Bharat Chipli to keep the Deccan challenge going with a series of boundaries. He too gave Kallis a simple catch, and with half the side dismissed and the asking rate around 13, there was too much for Christian to do. He unleashed a few big hits, but by that stage the biggest worry for Kolkata was the blow to Kallis' chin as he attempted yet another catch.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo