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Klusener leads Tigers to victory

Lance Klusener was the star for the Kolkata Tigers hitting 62 from 61 balls before bowling the last over to seal a narrow win for the Tigers over the Delhi Giants.

The 26th match of the Edelweiss 20s Challenge was played at the sparkling new venue of the ICL at Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Gurgaon, featuring hosts Delhi Giants, take on the Kolkata Tigers, in what was a virtual quarter final match between the two formidable sides.

A match that went down to the last ball was finally won by the Kolkata Tigers by a solitary run. Leg spinner Upul Chandana was declared the Man of the Match for his brilliant spell of 3/14.

In their pitch report Jeff Thomson & Barry Richards predicted an even, flat track which would slow up as the match progressed, making it ideal for the side batting first. Craig McMillan won the toss for the Tigers and elected to bat. The Tigers opened their quarter final challenge with a new opening combination of Lance Klusener & Deep Das Gupta. It worked out to be a cautious slow start for the Tigers who were placed at 27/0 at the end of the 4th over with only 3 hits to the boundary.

By the fifth over the Tigers were getting into the groove with Dasgupta opening his shoulders taking 17 runs off a Dhruv Mahajan over. By the 7th over, both the openers were working up a good partnership to take the Tigers to a comfortable position of 54 for no loss. The Giants got their first break through JP Yadav who dismissed the dangerous Dasgupta for a well made 35, at the Tigers score of 57.

At the half way mark of their innings, the Tigers were placed 68/1. The 100 for the Tigers came up with a boundary from the bat of Klusener in the 14th over. The Giants were banking on the wily Murtaza, to contain the Tigers' batsmen, especially Klusener who was playing the sheath anchor role to perfection.

Zulu brought about his 2nd fifty of the tournament in the 16th over off 52 balls. With 3 overs left, the Tigers were still to get on with their onslaught, placed at 118/2 & Klusener holding the key for a big score.

The penultimate over was full off drama with Shane Bond starting with some tight bowling but eventually being removed from the attack for slipping in a couple of beamers to the batsmen, it was finally left to Sudhindra to complete the over. A superb final over from Murtaza helped the Giants restrict the Tigers at the modest score of 142/4 in their allotted 20 overs.

In reply, the Giants came out with appositive frame of mind with Mohnish Mishra taking the pacy Hayward to the cleaners with two big hits to the boundary. Just when Mishra was taking the match away from the Tigers, McMillan came up with a great catch to end his lovely little cameo of 27. At the end of the 5th over, the Giants were right on course with their score card reading 52/1.

At the half way mark of their innings the Giants needed only 66 more runs of 60 balls with 9 wickets in hand. Just when the Giants were cursing along, Gunawardene gave away his wicket to a rash shot off Chandana, leaving his side in a bit of bother at 91/3 needing another 52 from 42 balls at around 8 runs per over. Chandana got the Tigers right back into the match with the big wicket of Atapattu making it an open game at 96/4 in the 15th over.

Abbas Ali continued his bad form at the Edelweiss 20s Challenge falling cheaply for 1, leaving the Giants in complete disarray at 99/5. The Giants lower middle order was falling like a pack of cards and in the 17th over, the top seven batsmen were back in the Giants dugout with the score card reading a sorry 107/7.

Just when the Tigers had the match in their grasp Sudhindra & Yagnik took 11 runs off a McMillan over to bring the match alive, with the Giants needing 18 runs off the last 2 overs. A tight over from the "Slinger- Tiger" Nechim, left the Giants needing 14 off the last over. The match went down to the last ball with the Giants needing 3 runs of the last ball. In the end the Giants had themselves to blame for falling short of a modest target by 1 run.

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