Kolkata clinch hard-fought victory
Kolkata Knight Riders 181 for 3 (Ganguly 56, Mathews 46*, Gayle 40) beat Delhi Daredevils 167 for 8 (Sehwag 64, Gambhir 47, Mendis 2-22) by 14 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In stark contrast to the silence that accompanied the listless defence against Kings XI Punjab, the Eden Gardens faithful responded passionately to a charged performance from Kolkata Knight Riders, which derailed Delhi Daredevils' chase to secure an invaluable 14-run victory. At the heart of the turnaround was Sourav Ganguly, who scored a half-century to build a challenging total, after which he fielded like few believed he could: the direct hit that ran out Gautam Gambhir ended a threatening 99-run partnership and turned the game Kolkata's way.
The result took them level on 10 points with Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore, the fourth-placed team.
It nearly didn't happen for Kolkata though. Virender Sehwag, who was reprieved on 7 when the umpire failed to hear or see an edge, threatened to deliver Delhi their seventh win. His partnership with Gambhir put Delhi on course and he completed a 34-ball half-century, his slowest in the IPL. It was greeted with silence by Eden Gardens. Delhi needed 48 off 32 balls with seven wickets in hand when Ajit Agarkar's inswinger crashed into Sehwag's stumps, and the slide had begun.
Ajantha Mendis, chosen ahead of Shane Bond because of a dry pitch, had Kedar Jadhav caught at cover - Ganguly jumping to intercept a hard drive - in the 17th over. The next, from left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla, was pivotal. He bowled Farveez Maharoof with one that pitched middle and hit off, before reacting athletically to run out Rajat Bhatia three balls later.
The decisive blow was struck by Ashok Dinda in the penultimate over when Dinesh Karthik, Kolkata's last threat, pulled to Brendon McCullum at midwicket. His exit left Delhi needing 30 off 10 balls, a task too hard for Daniel Vettori and Amit Mishra. It was fitting that Dinda landed the last blow, for he had struck the first during an astonishing opening over. He hurried David Warner with four skiddy deliveries, cramping him for room, before beating him with the fifth - a quick one that uprooted offstump before Warner had brought his bat down. Delhi knew then that they were in for a scrap.
Unlike Ganguly, who used the pace of Dinda, Agarkar and Angelo Mathews, Gambhir instructed his bowlers - from Maharoof to Rajat Bhatia - to take the pace of the ball. It didn't work immediately for Kolkata made their best score at the end of ten overs this season - 88 - and had all wickets intact.
Chris Gayle, who had scored 40 off 21, fell soon after though, missing a swipe against Bhatia, and Ganguly followed in similar fashion against Vettori. Brendon McCullum was run out cheaply too and Kolkata scored only 30 runs between overs 12 and 16 to reach 130 for 3.
The innings needed acceleration and it was provided by Mathews and Tiwary. Mathews had been dropped Bhatia on 10 - a caught and bowled opportunity - and he made Delhi pay with two well-aimed blows over long-on. Tiwary joined in the hitting right at the end, and they boosted the innings by taking 18 runs off Mishra's last over. Their partnership was worth 70 in 6.5 overs, and it helped set Delhi a testing target in a match vital to Kolkata's semi-final chances.
George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo