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Redemption song for Tiwary and Kolkata

Manoj Tiwary waits for his turn in the nets AFP

"I've always known that he had the talent," said Sourav Ganguly after the game. "Players like [Manoj] Tiwary, [Cheteshwar] Pujara and [Wriddhiman] Saha. It's just a question of giving them the opportunities. In this format, the best time to score runs is when opening. He batted very freely and played some big shots as well. Hopefully, he'll keep going like this the rest of the tournament."

Sunday at the Eden Gardens did for Tiwary what Saturday at the Brabourne had done for Ambati Rayudu. The way the IPL has gone so far, both for young talent that briefly lost its way and for Kolkata, the theme tune could well be Redemption Song. After two frustrating years in Delhi, unsure of his moorings in a team full of strokemakers, Tiwary has come home, and the pumped-fist celebration on reaching his 50 said more than a thousand words could.

After hurting his ankle while turning for a run, Tiwary appeared to find even keener focus. The more Jacques Kallis glared, the harder he hit the ball. Even Anil Kumble wasn't spared, with a deft cut through point and a fine paddle sweep off a googly catching the eye. It helped that opposite him was one of Twenty20's most adept practitioners, Brad Hodge.

By the time the partnership was broken, Kolkata needed just 35 from 50 balls. And though Bangalore bowled better in the second half of the innings, there was never any apprehension in the stands about the fate of the match. This was just one big party from start to finish, with Angelo Mathews and Murali Kartik lighting the first firecrackers.

"Everyone deserves credit," said Ganguly, when asked about the reversal of fortune for a team that managed just three wins all of last season. He was too tactful to mention John Buchanan's name, but with no Art of War and no multiple-captaincy theories, Kolkata have been transformed into a formidable unit. And they still await the arrival of Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Shane Bond and David Hussey. "The support staff, the mindset, the atmosphere within the team, everything has changed," continued Ganguly. "In Twenty20, it's all about playing freely."

Bangalore won't lose sleep over this. Had they lost a close game, there might have been inquests. Here, they were bullied out of contention from the opening Powerplay itself. "The first six overs cost us the game," said Anil Kumble. "There were too many shots too early. The wicket was a little on the slower side and the ball wasn't really coming on. But the Knight Riders also bowled very well."

Kartik's spell, which included Eoin Morgan's embarrassing reverse-sweep dismissal, illustrated just why so many are bemused that he hasn't even been a fringe player in the Indian ranks following Kumble's retirement. When it comes to nous and an understanding of the limited-overs format, he can certainly teach the younger pretenders a thing or two.

As for Mathews, he has the old Steve Waugh-Gavin Larsen gift. Seemingly innocuous, he's ceaselessly accurate and against batsmen looking to force the pace, he will always have some joy. Add in the free-stroking batsmanship that won them the first game, and you can see why Ganguly will have a selection problem of plenty when the other expats return.

Just three days in, and you realise why the IPL matters for young men like Tiwary. Yusuf Pathan had an outstanding domestic season, with twin centuries in the Duleep Trophy final, a 39-ball 80 in the Deodhar Trophy final and strong performances in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well. While those events got coverage, not one innings in that array made the front pages and news-bulletin headlines like Saturday's 37-ball blast.

Three years ago, before the knee injury that ruined his chances of an ODI debut in Bangladesh, Tiwary was Indian cricket's man-in-waiting. But apart from the true cricket tragics, few will be able to tell you how his career has progressed since. In the space of 29 balls in front of his home crowd though, he reminded people that he too is a contender. Like Rayudu, he's just 24. The recent past can be written off as a bad dream. The future is no longer touched with grey.