Pune Warriors v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2011, Navi Mumbai May 19, 2011

Spinners, Gambhir help Kolkata breeze past Pune


Kolkata Knight Riders 119 for 3 (Gambhir 54*) beat Pune Warriors 118 for 7 (Yuvraj 24, Balaji 2-7, Shakib 2-16) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It was billed as Sourav Ganguly's payback game against Kolkata Knight Riders. Instead, it proved to be a stern examination on a turner for the Pune Warriors batsmen, and called in to question the home side's decision to play only one specialist spinner as Shakib Al Hasan, Iqbal Abdulla and Yusuf Pathan exploited the generous spin available to tie Pune down. Kolkata, anchored by Gautam Gambhir, and under no pressure with an asking rate of below six, motored to victory, taking a big step towards making the play-offs.

Unless they lose badly to Mumbai Indians in their last league game, and Kings XI Punjab manage another big win in their last match, Kolkata should be through to the knock-outs.

The comfortable victory was set up by the Kolkata spin trio, who picked up five wickets for 51 runs in 11 overs, but more than that, preyed on the minds of the Pune batsmen, who struggled to score on a pitch that would have been a good test of batsmen's skills in a Test match against quality spin, but looked out of place in a Twenty20 game.

Right from the first ball that Abdulla bowled, it was clear that the batsmen were in for a hard grind. It was flighted, drew Manish Pandey forward, and spun sharply across as he missed the ball by a long way. The third was the typical left-arm spinner's sucker ball, making Pandey push forward outside the line for the turn and going straight on to strike him in front. This was after Jesse Ryder had targeted the second ball of spin in the game, trying to smash Yusuf Pathan for six but only finding mid-off. It was the beginning of Pune's problems.

Callum Ferguson came in ahead of Ganguly, and the relative ease with which he played during his short innings made one wonder again what he had been doing in the Pune dugout for most of the season. It was the spinners' night though, and Ferguson was left clueless as he skipped out to Shakib, only for the ball to turn a long way past his bat for Shreevats Goswami to do the rest.

There was a time when left-arm spin from both ends would never be tried against Ganguly, but that time is long gone. Ganguly led a charmed life today, almost edging the ball on to the stumps and also escaping a stumping chance. He showed one glimpse of the batsman he once was, lofting Abdulla for a very straight six, but clearly, sustained big hitting on a difficult pitch was too much to expect. He departed on another failed attempt to break free, sweeping Shakib to Yusuf at backward square leg.

It was not until the 13th over that Pune's most explosive batsmen, Robin Uthappa and Yuvraj Singh, got together. A run-rate that had remained stuck below six after the opening over forced Uthappa to go hard at Yusuf in the next over, but he swung it to deep midwicket where Lee took a sharp catch. Yuvraj was left playing the tragic hero yet again, but even he could not do much, ultimately top-edging a pull off L Balaji, who came on to bowl for the first time in the last over.

Alfonso Thomas got Pune the breakthrough in the first over, getting Goswami caught behind with one that took off. That was as close as Pune came to entertaining hopes of an upset, and Kolkata's line-up proved to be too powerful, not even requiring the services of Jacques Kallis, who had injured his finger in the field.

Gambhir, as always, showed how to tackle a turning pitch, repeatedly using his feet against Pune's spinners, Rahul Sharma and Yuvraj. He also played two delightful extra cover drives off successive deliveries against Thomas. Yusuf wasn't far behind, making room to cut Rahul's skiddy deliveries from off stump through short third man.

That it wasn't to be Pune's day was evident when consecutive throws from Ferguson ran to the boundary, the latter after hitting the stumps. Not that it mattered in the end, as Kolkata were simply the superior side by a long margin.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • roket on May 21, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    @streetblader: "hez gotten some runs and some wickets by repeatedly playing teams like kenya and zimbabwe.. doesnt mean he is a decent player... not even close" Here is a tip for you, go to ICC Rankings website and look up Shakib's rating details. Shakib's highest rated performance as an all rounder in test matches was against ENGLAND, Shakib's highest rated bowling in Test matches came against India when he received a ranking of 650. Your claim that Shakib is highly rated because he performs against Kenya and Zimbabwe is inaccurate. Shakib played Kenya only 3 times very early in his career. Many of Morgan's major innings in ODIs came against minnows as well, with 115 & 84* vs Canada, 99 against Scotland, 94 and 51 vs Holland. Those teams are far worse than Kenya and Zimbabwe. So please elaborate, with statistics how is Shakib is not a "decent player....not even close" when compared to Eoin Morgan.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    I think, as the most knowledgable person here (as he believes about himself), "Mr. streetblader" should be given the post of ICC president!!!

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    @Streetblader, pls if you want to pass a comment for a Cricketer, you have to learn Cricket before i think. Shakib Al Hasan is currently no.2 Odi & no.3 Test allrounder in ICC ranking, so I just say stop your nonsence comments & give respect who deserved.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    @ streetblader : Ya! BD fans shouldn't scream here for Shakib! It's only an Indian T20 league & not international cricket. But ur observation 'bout Shakib is wrong. He hasn't played ODI vs Ken since 2006. As far i know he played match winning innings-es for BD vs Sri Lanka in 2009, W Indies in 2009 & whitewashing Kiwis in 2010. Those happened only for his individual performances. He's an allrounder & mainly left arm spinner. So he shouldn't b compared to Morgan or Boutcher who r good batsmen but can't bowl. And in ICC test ranking he's no. 3 allrounder, no. 8 test bowler & Zim don't play test in recent years. So ur idea is totally wrong.

  • Md. Rezwanur on May 20, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    Nowadays I always see Bangladeshi & Indian fans fighting over each others comments. Why guys? This is a cricket website, we all love the game & our players. Just respect each other and talk about cricket!! I am a Bangladeshi & I want Shakib & all Bangladeshi players to earn respect by their performance on field. Even then if some people don't respect them then they will never do, so no point fighting.All I want to say to my respected fellow countrymen that our players are not yet world famous superstars, but they definitely can be as they are still very young. Time will come when they will be famous for their skills. So let us stop fighting on this forum, respect each oher and talk about just CRICKET!!!

  • Anik on May 20, 2011, 13:06 GMT


    Its a pity to have an attitude like this, you simply have overlooked the fact that it is the indian based players who are lucky to be selected in the ipl. to my knowledge there are thousands of much more talented indian cricketers out there, but for the filthy indian caste system many are missing out.

    And to your point about SHAKIB, he is a world class player, second to none, and would walk into any international side. His involvement in the IPL is a mere plaything for him, he is more concerned about international cricket and the fact he has a county contract in england, something indian players would give their left kidney for, (not that they already do)!

  • Chandan on May 20, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    To all bangladeshi fans cribbing that shakib is not being given a proper opportunity.. you should feel lucky that a player from a sub standard minnow team is even given a chance to appear in an IPL match.. shakib is over-rated evn from bnagladesh standards.. hez gotten some runs and some wickets by repeatedly playing teams like kenya and zimbabwe.. doesnt mean he is a decent player... not even close... how many matches has he won by his individual brilliance against a top team..? none.. nada... zip.. bare a couple of fortunate turn arounds... i hope morgan returns and he is shown the door, a place where he deserves to be...

  • arctic on May 20, 2011, 11:31 GMT

    Oh dear, first it was West Bengal fans that SRK had to put up with, and now it seems its East Bengal(Bangladesh) fans that will be on KKR's back everytime Shakib does'nt play or is under utilized in a match. I think its a Bengali thing.

    Nevertheless Shakib and Doeschate would be better bets than Morgan and Boucher, who only flatters to deceive.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    "Unfortunately Sakib took Dada's wkt(A Bangali Show)".

    What is unfortunate about it. He was trying to take it and succeeded. Perhaps you'd prefer Dada to have remained 'Not Out'. If he had remained 'Not out' at KKR, it would have been a sad story to tell for the franchise. Mind you, I like Dada's batting. Only age is against him and he needs to walk gracefully into the sunset.

  • hazzaz on May 20, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    I would put Kalis 3, Pathan 4 and Sakib 5. KKR all the way.

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