Knight Riders win thriller at Eden Gardens
Despite a power failure which plunged the ground into darkness the Kolkata Knight Riders won a dramatic but low scoring game played on a dreadful batting track at Eden Gardens by wickets.
The lights went out, not quite symbolically, in the fourth match of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 series. The Hyderabad Deccan Chargers set a rather light target of 110 off 18.4 overs, and the Kolkata Knight Riders found it a surprisingly arduous task to make the climb.
Just as they were 20 or so runs (and balls) away from their target, the lights went out in Kolkata's Eden Gardens stadium.
It might have brought back memories of power failures in years gone by in the Calcutta of old, but was apparently a floodlight failure. The teams huddled together to plot strategy, while the crowds grew restless. Being Kolkata, there were doubtless sinister conspiracy theories hatched and dismissed, then taken up again. Meanwhile, statisticians analyzed the odds of such an event, and the possibility of a tie, and the impact of such on the ranking tables.
The game started with an over of overthrows and no balls. Gilchrist and Venugopal Rao had a pretty good partnership going before Venugopal got out in the third over. The best partnership in the Deccan Chargers innings was the one between Gilchrist and Symonds, although the run rate fell a bit short of spectacular. The pitch was difficult, with clouds of dust rising up from almost every ball. The Chargers folded in the 18th over for 110.
The Kolkata innings started with some fine knocks from McCullum, but not for long as he got out in the second over. Ricky Ponting was next to fall at zero to an lbw decision. Saurav Ganguly stayed in the game for a while, and got hit in the chest midway, while gasps could be heard across the stands. The scoring was very slow, however, and an interesting partnership between Ganguly and Hussey was ended prematurely. Hussey and Hafeex stayed the course until the lights went out in the 16th over.
There were many confabulations between the captains and the match referee, the venerable Faroukh Engineer. Repairs were evidently made and the match restarted in about ten minutes without any shortening of the number of overs.
Kolkata needed 22 runs off 19 balls with 5 wickets to spare. David Hussey and Shukla restricted themselves to singles off the next few balls, and the occasional collision with the bowler mid-wicket. They then picked up the pace with a rousing 6 and a 4. Victory seemed in sight, and the crowd sensed blood and was on their feet. They were not to be denied, and on home ground, the Kolkata sportsfan is a demanding spectator.
Hussey wrapped up the game with a six off the final ball of the 18th over, just two balls ahead of where the Deccan Chargers had given up the ghost. The crowd went wild, and made plans for some fine hilsa cooking. All electric failures were forgiven and the Kolkata Knight Riders team rose up the ladder like a Bollywood superhit.