Sorry Warriors slide to their 11th defeat
Kolkata Knight Riders 152 for 6 (Gambhir 50, Bhuvneshwar 3-25) beat Pune Warriors 106 (Mathews 40, Balaji 3-19) by 46 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
At the halfway stage, it looked like Pune Warriors had given themselves a target that was achievable, but the batting fizzled out, and Warriors fell to their 11th defeat this year, this time against Kolkata Knight Riders, who are yet to be convinced they are out of the race for playoffs this season.
Warriors' openers, their best bet in the chase, scooted to 19 off the first two overs, but the wheels came off as early as the third over. Aaron Finch had a reprieve off the first ball of the third over when he was caught backing up too far as a straight drive from Robin Uthappa hit the stumps at the non-striker's end. Kallis was convinced the ball had flicked his toe, but the replays were inconclusive. Later in the over Kallis, who argued unnecessarily with umpire Sudhir Asnani, bowled Finch with one that stayed a touch low. Yuvraj Singh's sorry run of scores received yet another entry and, apart from Uthappa and Angelo Mathews, no one got into double-digit scores. L Balaji made the most of the slowness in the wicket with a miserly 3 for 19, ending this tussle between two competitors, who have been lapped in the race this year, in an utterly one-sided fashion.
When asked at the toss if his team was motivated to end the tournament on a high, Gautam Gambhir had said, "playing for KKR is a big enough motivation. If someone needs to look somewhere else for motivation, he shouldn't be in the dressing room." He showed the same intent when he came out to bat, stroking a couple of boundaries through the off side in the second over. Manvinder Bisla joined in and the two were off to a quick start as 44 came off the first five overs.
Parvez Rasool, the debutant offspinner from Jammu & Kashmir, began his spell with a couple of tossed up deliveries but once Gambhir drove him through cover, he lowered his trajectory, shortened the length and started firing them in to good effect. He earned the big wicket of Jacques Kallis in his second over as the batsman failed to clear short cover where Angelo Mathews held on to the catch on second attempt. In between Rasool's overs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar had Bisla stumped by the wicketkeeper, giving him first such victim in any form of cricket. The two consecutive losses made the positive start go pear-shaped as the boundaries dried up. Only 22 runs came between overs six and 10.
With the pitch not offering any pace to the batsmen, Gambhir and Morgan had to contend with singles and doubles as Rasool and Mathews ran through their overs. When Morgan finally tried a ramp shot off Mitchell Marsh, he ended up playing it into the hands of the fielder at short fine leg. Gambhir's innings lost steam at the other end; he had six boundaries to score 35 off his first 22, but managed only 15 without a boundary off the next 22 and although he scored a half-century, he was caught soon at midwicket attempting a cross-batted heave. Pathan came and Pathan went, and Knight Riders were left tottering at 99 for 5 with four overs to spare.
The man of the moment turned out to be the often ignored Netherlands allrounder Ryan ten Doeschate, who was playing his first match this season and only his 10th in his third year with Knight Riders. He revived the innings with a muscular thwack off the first ball of the 17th over that went way over midwicket, ending a seven-over boundary drought, then he powered two more fours straight down the ground to add some spring to the innings. The late spurt in energy was contagious as Manoj Tiwary, making a comeback after injury, also added a few bonus runs, while Rajat Bhatia tarnished Wayne Parnell's last over with a six and four to help Knight Riders to a match-winning total of 152.
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo