Kolkata Knight Riders stayed alive in the tournament with a show of desperation in the field, accuracy with the ball, and aggression with the bat. With rain lurking in the background, the Knight Riders won the crucial toss and manage to eventually win the match through D/L method. This despite an aggressive start from Colin Ingram and JJ Smuts. However, led by Brett Lee and Jacques Kallis with the ball, they fielded superbly to allow only 67 runs in the last nine overs. Lee went for just 25 off his four overs, including nine runs off the 17th and 19th overs.
The sub-par total of 155 was always going to take some defending on a skidding surface flanked by short boundaries and a damp outfield. And with the in-form Kallis and Gautam Gambhir, and Manvinder Bisla playing some scintillating shots, it seemed like the Warriors would need outside intervention. It arrived, in the form of rain, but by then nine overs had been bowled and the Knight Riders were 22 ahead of the par score. That not only brought the Kinght Riders, who are done with their league matches, two points, but also a boost in the net run-rate.
The game was won and lost in the last nine overs of the Warriors innings. Ingram, through some stylish aerial hitting, and JJ Smuts, through muscular blows, had put Warriors on course for a defendable total. Yet at that point, both efforts needed finishing touches, which never came by.
JJ Smuts tried to power his way through at the start, and in spite of all his efforts managed a strike-rate of 107 in his 46. He played out 17 dots. It is usually difficult to argue against an innings of 61 off 47, but tonight was the night. Ingram missed out on converting ones into twos, running the first one slowly despite having hit slightly wide of the fielders. He let Shakib Al hasan in particular get away with a few full tosses. Towards the end he struggled to accelerate. At one stage he wanted to walk off even after edging Lee short of the keeper, only to be asked to come back. He scored two couples, and his last 14 deliveries brought him 11 runs.
Ideally that shouldn't have taken from Ingram's impressive start. He began with sixes off Lee, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib. The third of those made its way to the press box, on the third floor at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. It was going swimmingly for Warriors then: that six took the score to 75 for 1 in the 10th over, with two set batsmen looking to launch higher.
Both batsmen hit a boundary each in the next over, but in the following overs they got stuck. Ingram hit three full tosses for ones, JJ Smuts toe-ended a short ball to mid-off, and with a new batsman at the crease the Knight Riders sneaked in a few quiet overs. Ryan ten Doeschate, Manoj Tiwary and Lee were electric in the outfield to assist their bowlers.
Kallis came back in the 16th over with 28 scored off the preceding four overs, and turned the screws further. Just four came off his accurate over, and Lee followed it up wide yorkers to concede just five off the 17th. Mark Bouhcer scooped his good friend Jacques Kallis for back-to-back fours to take Warriors to a fighting total, but soon followed it up by dropping Kallis.
In the form that he is, you don't drop Kallis. Boucher's good high catch to send Bisla back was hardly amends. Both batsmen had hit a six each by then, and the Knight Riders had raced away to 35 in the fourth over. That wicket was followed up a misfiled that allowed Gambhir to get away running with a four through mid-off. Kallis and Gambhir proceeded to loot 47 off the next five overs, matching each other short for shot. Gambhir matched Kallis for the drop too, when Kelly Smuts dropped him at deep cover to cap off an unsatisfactory night for Warriors in every department.