Kolkata Knight Riders v Pune Warriors, IPL 2012, Eden Gardens May 5, 2012

No happy homecoming for Ganguly


Kolkata Knight Riders 150 for 5 (Gambhir 56, Mathews 2-17) beat Pune Warriors 143 for 8 (de lange 3-34, Narine 1-13) by seven runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The pre-match hype was all about Sourav Ganguly taking on his former team at his nursery - Eden Gardens. He played a part in giving his struggling Pune Warriors a chance to upstage Kolkata Knight Riders, but in a bitter twist, his dismissal was the turning point, allowing the hosts to clinch a seven-run win. In a match that ebbed and flowed, Angelo Mathews halted Knight Riders' charge with a flurry of sixes, but with support diminishing at the other end, he failed to muscle Warriors to victory.

It wasn't the homecoming Ganguly hoped for. Having done the hard work to restrict Knight Riders to a middling 150 after a rousing start, Warriors were tottering at 55 for 5. Ganguly curiously demoted himself to No. 7 and the chants for his arrival grew louder with the fall of every top-order wicket. Sunil Narine's variations left Ganguly fighting for dear life, but having survived the spell, he ran out of steam as Knight Riders found some late inspiration in the field.

Knight Riders' win brought back memories of a similar game against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. A strong top-order base was followed by a collapse, before the bowlers starred. At Eden Gardens today, an opening stand of 113 between Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum gave them the foundation to entertain thoughts of 200 and beyond, but the other batsmen batted as if on a different wicket and managed only 37 runs in the last 7.3 overs.

The stand between Gambhir and McCullum was their third of more than fifty in this IPL. They ransacked 46 runs off three overs to end the Powerplay on an imposing 68 for no loss. Sensing the spinners would play a crucial role in containing the run-rate on this sluggish pitch, Ganguly brought on Michael Clarke. Gambhir milked the singles by dabbing the seamers to third man. There were no pressure tactics applied by Warriors till the tenth over, when the wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa stood up to the stumps to prevent the batsmen from using their feet. Gambhir continued coming down the track but he failed to launch Murali Kartik over long-off, where he was caught by Mithun Manhas.

It was the start of the slide for Knight Riders. After hammering 106 off 11 overs, Knight Riders managed only 44 in the last nine - their worst performance in all IPL seasons. Following McCullum's fall in the 14th over, they scored only one more boundary.

The speed of Marchant de Lange, however, gave Knight Riders a rousing start with the ball as the South African beat Clarke for pace and clipped the bails. The Warriors top order perished in the quest for quick runs, though Steven Smith was unlucky to be given lbw because the umpire failed to spot an inside edge.

Walking in later than anticipated, Ganguly was silenced by Narine with four scoreless deliveries. He then slapped Jacques Kallis over mid-off and upper cut him over the slips to perk up Warriors. Ganguly's edginess against Narine, however, was one of the more memorable battles in the chase. As the ball spun and gripped, Ganguly poked and prodded like he was batting in the dark. Edges sneaked past the slips and it seemed like a wicket was around the corner.

Three consecutive sixes over the leg side by Mathews, off Yusuf Pathan, meant that Warriors needed 42 off the last five. Narine slowed down Warriors with another parsimonious over to Ganguly, in which he gave just four. A flat six by Ganguly off Rajat Bhatia added another twist, but three balls later, he holed out to the deep.

Narine's spell, which featured 14 dots balls, and some inspired fielding by Laxmi Ratan Shukla put the target out of Warriors' reach.

Kolkata loyalists got what they wanted - a win, plus a contribution from Ganguly. What couldn't be measured, though, was how many of the 60,000 odd that showed up were rooting for a Warriors win.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chrish on May 7, 2012, 11:25 GMT


  • mohammad on May 7, 2012, 3:26 GMT


  • rubel on May 6, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    reading most of the comments i am little bit surprised................most of the comments are 4m bangladeshi fans........... cricinfo should be proud of us........as well as IPL

  • sabbir on May 6, 2012, 19:18 GMT

    Murali too old n selfish, should go back home enjoy with family and let youngster play, he has proven more then enough how good player he is. So its all about money this older dude still playing for:)

  • mujib on May 6, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    @cricket-lover-89, First of all (not beting) its batting. second ...Shane watson is the best all rounder accordng to your ranking. For Icc its Sakib al hasan. Icc might looking for you , for some help.

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    @ pjbarua

    Warriors need you............

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    There has been quite a lot comments on how Ganguly performed so far in this IPL...It is absolutely a point that Ganguly has disappointed to his fans more than a bit...we all love hime so much that we can't see him defeated in any part of cricket game...whether it is Captaincy, Batting, Fielding etc.

    Though its correct that Ganguly not making any impact with bat (which is his main skill apart being captaining Pune team)...still it is a point to think that he's not been playing international level cricket like other players Sachin, Dhoni...and the players who are not so active in international cricket appeared struggling like Gilchrist.

    People are also talking about not including Tamim...Even if you remove Ganguly...there can play only 4 foreign players in a team and Pune has already that bunch.

    Still being fan of Ganguly...it will be good if he resign as player and skipper of the team. But this should happen only with consent of Pune management and Ganguly.

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    @gagg.......ipl is not even a standard league....indian board have forced to include 4 teams in the champions league..........ha..ha..ha,,,,& they r afraid about our bpl.....so did not allow 2 participate there.....now come 2 d point....ur talking abt sakib...ok...just look at narine his avg is worst than sakib...do u think sakib is better than narine....even i dont think so.....so y is narine in d team....itz bcoz form.....& y is bm in d team????bcoz he is a newzealander.....batted selfishly today 2 keep d place.....also he is not a good player in d subcontinent pitches....got tremendous support from d kkr management..........whatev he plays good or bad is not a fact for his place in d team.....also it is same for yusuf.....& look at sakib...got minimum opportunity & achieved a man of d match....

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    @Gagg....McCullum better than Shakib?....hahaha...First of all T20 is not real Cricket and just to embarrass you McCullum doesn't and can't bowl but Shakib can so look at the rankings of the two at the ICC website. Even Shakib's batting is better than McCullum in the 'REAL' formats ODIs and Tests. Yes McCullum is ranked higher than Shakib in the T20 rankings but you just as I know that's because Bangladesh hardly play T20 Cricket as compared to New Zealand and if you want proof take 2012 so far as an example. New Zealand in 2012 have 5 T20 internationals already whereas Bangladesh haven't even played 1 yet so don't let your 'ignorance' get the better of you as I proved you wrong with these evidences therefore you badly fail hahaha....plus McCullum has played more games than Shakib in all formats in Tests and ODIs but Shakib's average is still better than him end of story :))))

  • kris on May 6, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    KKR are playing well and it is said not to change a winning team, but Pathan is looking out of sorts at the moment! KKR may need to look at some of their other players for eg - Sakib?! On another note Sunil Narine has been fantastic!! It was wonderful to see him do battlle with Dada!

  • No featured comments at the moment.