Pune: If Sourav Ganguly had planned a grand sign-off to the fifth season of the Indian Premier League, it certainly didn't come off. Pune Warriors India have had a woeful time of it, and the trend continued in their last match of the season, against Ganguly's old team, Kolkata Knight Riders.
On a pitch where batsmen struggled to score quickly, Kolkata sealed a comprehensive 34-run win, ending Pune's misery in the process. (Scorecard)
Gautam Gambhir did say before the match that it was a crucial game for his team. But his batsmen certainly didn't make it appear as if they were really in the game. (Also see: Match in pics)
Gambhir and Jacques Kallis fell early, as the scoring rate remained sluggish. Brendon McCullum and Shakib-al-Hasan showed the right intent, but the Knight Riders had reached just 60 for two at the end of the 12th over.
Shakib finally pressed on the accelerator after that, hitting Michael Clarke for two sixes. They took 20 from that over, while 21 more were scored in the next two overs, bowled by Ganguly and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.
The scoring-rate dipped again after that as McCullum and Shakib fell in quick succession, and in the end, Kolkata managed just 136 for four.
For a team that had confirmed its place in the last four before the game, it wasn't an impressive batting performance. In fact, Shakib - 42 off 30 balls - and Yusuf Pathan, who scored an unbeaten 15 from 10 balls, were the only Kolkata batsmen to score at over a run a ball.
When the Pune batsmen came out, it seemed like the track was even tougher to bat on.
Jesse Ryder was the best of the lot, scoring 22. Wickets fell in a heap, and while Pune managed to last their quota of overs, the match was never really a contest.
Sunil Narine was outstanding again, ending with figures of one for 15, as each of the six Kolkata bowlers in action on the night returned with at least a wicket.
Pune finished eight down for 102. Kolkata, despite an iffy batting performance, remain on course to go all the way.