Harjit Mehat | cricket20
Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir both scored half centuries to help the Kolkata Knight Riders cruise to a 9 wicket victory over the Rajasthan Royals.
The pair came together in the 2nd over after the early loss of Manvinder Bisla and steered the visitors to victory over the previously undefeated Royals who had started the tournament with back to back victories.
Kallis (80) lead the way smashing 7 fours and 2 sixes while Gambhir (75) smashed 11 fours and 1 six during the pairs Indian Premier League record 2nd wicket stand of 152.
Despite having Shane Watson available for the first time in this years tournament the Royals relied on Ross Taylor (35) and Rahul Dravid (35) to help home side reached a competitive total of 159-4.
Faced with a tricky run chase the visitors suffered an early blow after Bisla was given out in controversial circumstances by the TV umpire Russell Tiffin who decided the opener had been run out by wicket keeper Amit Paunikar even though replays showed the ball had popped out of Paunikar’s gloves before he broke the stumps.
With Bisla back in the dugout Kallis launched the Knight Riders counter attack by dispatching Ashok Menaria for a boundary and a six over long off in the 3rd over.
Nayan Doshi was treated to the same punishment before Gambhir dispatched 4 boundaries off the bowling of Amit Singh in the 6th over to register the pairs 50 run partnership.
The milestone was reached in just 26 deliveries, two fewer then the total needed for the Knight Riders skipper who reached his own half century in the 11th over.
All-rounder Kallis recorded his own half century, his third in a row, 3 overs later as the Knight Riders slowly made their way to a comfortable victory.
The day got worst for the Royals when Gambhir was caught out on the boundary by Johan Botha but Siddharth Trivedi was no-balled by Aleem Dar who had spotted the home side had only got three fielders inside the circle.
The costly mistake was compounded by Botha who realised it was a no-ball and threw the ball towards wicket keeper Paunikar who had gone off to celebrate the wicket with his teammates leaving the ball to go for 4 over throws.
Having survived the drama Gambhir and Kallis wasted little time recording the Knight Riders victory with 9 balls to spare, ending the Royals unbeaten start to this years tournament.
Having been put into bat by Gautam Gambhir, the Royals got off to a slow start on a tired looking wicket which the Knight Riders bowlers used to great effect with a mixture of short and slower deliveries.
Although Jaques Kallis conceded 10 runs in the 3rd over the Royals struggled to get their innings started and were doubt a further blow in the next over when Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan struck with just his third delivery.
The 24 year old, playing in his first match since arriving in India after Bangladesh’s 3-0 ODI series defeat against Australia, struck with a slower delivery which Paunikar (9) edged to Kallis at short third man to leave the home side 26-1.
Surprisingly, with Shane Watson and Johan Botha in the line up the Royals promoted Menaria up the order but he didn’t disappoint during a 2nd wicket partnership of 52 with Dravid.
The pair finally broke the shackles to get the Royals innings underway and although the partnership wasn’t explosive they did give the home side a solid base to push on during the second half of the innings.
With the game evenly balanced the Knight Riders regained the upper hand thanks to former Royals all-rounder, Pathan, who struck twice to remove Dravid (35) and Menaria (27) in the space of 3 deliveries in the 12th which reduced the Royals to 79-3.
The dismissal of Dravid brought Watson to the crease fresh from his dismantling of the Bangladesh bowling attack for Australia last week and the Aussie wasted little time announcing his arrival with a massive six off the bowling of Shakib Al Hasan in the 14th over.
Watson, in partnership with Taylor put together a 4th wicket partnership of 45 which put the home side in control before Shakib Al Hasan struck to remove Watson.
Having just been dispatched for a six the Bangladesh skipper responded brilliantly with a fuller delivery which Watson (22) failed to slog sweep for another six as the ball crashed into the stumps.
Despite the lose Taylor and new partner Botha (12) continued to attack the bowlers to help the Royals reach a competitive total of 159-4 as they look to make it three wins out of three.