Javinder Singh | cricket20
The Kolkata Knight Riders strengthened their chances of reaching the knock out stages of the IPL after restricting the Kochi Tuskers Kerala to a total of 156-5 at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
Mahela Jayawardene (55), playing down the order, led the way scoring his first half century in this year’s tournament to help the Tuskers set the Knight Riders a victory target of 157.
Jaidev Unadkat (25-2) and Yusuf Pathan (16-1) kept the Tuskers in check to allow the Knight Riders to gain the momentuem going into their run chase as they look to leapfrog the Mumbai Indians at the top of the IPL group standings.
The innings got off to the worst possible start for the Tuskers when Brendon McCullum (1) was caught by Jacques Kallis in the slips after the Kiwi slashed wildly at a delivery from Unadkat at the start of the 2nd over.
Despite the early loss, Parthiv Patel (21) played positively during a quick fire cameo which included back to back boundaries off the bowling of Brett Lee before Unadkat struck again in the 6th over to leave the Tuskers 30-2.
Having lost two early wickets lost Micheal Klinger and Jayawardene lead the Tuskers fight back with a vital 3rd wicket stand of 51 on another slow wicket at the Nehru Stadium.
With the partnership building, Gautam Gambhir turned to Pathan to create a break through for the Knight Riders and big hitting all rounder duly obliged at the end of the 12th over.
Klinger (29), who had looked unsettled at the crease during his 26 ball innings holed out to Iqbal Abdulla on the deep midwicket boundary after he was tempted by a full toss from Pathan to leave the Tuskers 81-3.
Ravindra Jadeja (8) quickly followed before Jayawardene and Brad Hodge built a 5th wicket partnership of 38 before the Tuskers skipper was run out in the penultimate over.
With Jayawardene back in the dugout, Hodge (34) took control of the game blasting 22 runs off the final over bowled by Lee to give the home side hope of causing an upset against the Knight Riders.