Deepankar Kaur | cricket20
The Kochi Tuskers Kerala pulled off another stunning victory after they handed the Kolkata Knight Riders a surprising 17 run defeat to keep their hopes of reaching the knock out stages alive.
The Tuskers held their nerve to deny the Knight Riders, who needed 38 runs from the final 18 deliveries but once Eoin Morgan (66) and Yusuf Pathan (17) had been dismissed in the 19th over the Tuskers kept the visitors at bay in their final match at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
Morgan led the visitors run chase with an impressive half century but the opener’s contribution wasn’t enough to stop the Knight Riders slipping to a surprise defeat after they failed to chase down the Tuskers total of 156-5.
The visitor’s hopes of victory were restricted by Raiphi Gomez who impressed with the ball after he took two wickets and conceded just 14 runs from his 4 overs.
Faced with a tricky run chase the Knight Riders got off to a fantastic starts thanks to Morgan and Jacques Kallis who enjoyed an opening stand of 69.
Kallis led the way with a quick fire 45 before he was bowled by Gomez who struck with a magnificent slow legcutter in the 11th over to dismiss the South African.
The 25 year old struck again to remove Gautam Gambhir with his next delivery to complete a brilliant two wicket maiden to leave the Knight Riders 69-2.
Despite the set back Morgan continued to attack the Tuskers bowlers dispatching 15 runs off RP Singh an over after Gomez’s heroics to keep the game finally balanced.
Manoj Tiwary (1) quickly followed as the run rate started to increase but Morgan, having scored his first IPL half century of the tournament held his nerve to dispatch Sreesanth for a boundary and a sixe in the 17th over to set up a tense finish.
Mahela Jayawardene (55), playing down the order, led the way for the Tuskers 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.