Ganguly blast power Knight Riders to victory

May 11th, 2008 - 10:46 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, May 11 (IANS) Sourav Ganguly rendered an explosive innings that propelled Kolkata Knight Riders to a 23-run victory over Deccan Chargers in an Indian Premier League match here Sunday. Ganguly clobbered 91 off just 57 balls as Knight Riders put up an imposing 204/4 in 20 overs and then restricted the home team to 181/7 to coast to a comfortable victory.

But Riders did not get the match on a platter as Venugopal Rao (71 off 42 balls) produced a breathtaking innings and threatened to take the match away towards the end. The Hyderabad batsman hit six towering sixes and four boundaries, but his heroic efforts went in vain as there was no support for him from the other end.

Deccan Chargers lost wickets at regular interval and at one point were reeling at 5/95 before Venugopal’s fireworks enthralled the capacity home crowd who have not savoured a single win of their home team here.

Pacer Ashok Dinda (3/33) broke the back of Deccan Chargers, scything through the top-order in no time. He removed the dangerous Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs and in-form Rohit Sharma before Ganguly (2/25) bowled a tidy spell in the middle overs, giving nothing away to the batsmen.

But it was Laxmi Ratan Shukla (1-16) who reigned in Rao in the last two overs of the match. Rao was hitting experienced campaigners like Umar Gul and Murali Kartik out of the stadium before Ganguly threw the ball to Shukla, who kept his cool and bowled at the yorker length with consistency, cramping Venugopal.

Earlier, skipper Sourav Ganguly, after electing to bat, powered Knight Riders to an imposing total. Ganguly has not had a good tournament with the bat so far but Sunday he produced an electrifying knock, reminiscent of his hey-days.

It was not all power hitting but immaculate timing that saw the ball soaring high over stands after meeting the sweet spot of Ganguly’s blade. The Maharaj of Kolkata hit 11 boundaries and five sixes, most of them straight down the ground.

David Hussey (57 off 29 balls) was an able support for Ganguly as the duo punched sixes and fours in the death overs.

After Knight Riders lost their first wicket early with Salman Butt edging one behind off Chaminda Vass in the fourth ball of the innings, they batted with caution. The first six overs fetched 43 and after 13 overs Kolkata only had 89 on the board before Ganguly decided to cut loose.

The last seven overs produced 115 as Ganguly and Hussey raced to a 102-run stand off just 48 balls.

Ganguly took his time to settle down and was good in his shot selection. He often shuffled across and improvised to hit boundaries off Vaas and P Vijaykumar, the new-ball bowlers.

Ganguly changed gears in the last overs and spanked left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha for a couple of straight sixes. Scott Styris too was hit for successive sixes by Ganguly. Vaas, who bowled an unimpressive spell, delivered too many full tosses and Ganguly grabbed the scoring opportunities.

At the other end, Hussey too turned on the heat, hitting RP for two sixes and a four in the 18th over.

Deccan were also hit by some ordinary fielding. Misfields and dropped catches were far too many.

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