Ntini, storm blow away Knight Riders’ hopes(Lead)

May 19th, 2008 - 8:29 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shoaib Akhtar

Kolkata, May 18 (IANS) Makhaya Ntini’s fiery spell and a duststorm handed Chennai Super Kings a three run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders through Duckworth-Lewis method in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Eden Gardens here Sunday. Electing to bat, Knight Riders were first rocked by Ntini (4-21), who took the third hat-trick of the IPL and restricted the hosts to 149/5. A duststorm later dashed their hopes of making a match of it.

Duststorm accompanied by showers took centrestage at Eden Gardens just when Parthiv Patel (19 not out) and Stephen Fleming (32 not out) had seen off dangerous Shoaib Akhtar to setn up the run chase.

Super Kings were 55 for no loss in eight overs when play was interrupted. And for the second successive match in the IPL, after Delhi Daredevils’ defeat to Kings XI Punjab Saturday, Duckworth-Lewis came into play.

Super Kings just edged Kolkata by three runs in D/L charts. The packed Eden Gardens crowd, who braved the thunderstorm to stay back, fell silent when the visitors were declared the winners.

Super Kings consolidated their position for a semifinal berth, but Knight Riders, who have three matches left, have a stiff road ahead and might have to depend on the results of other matches as well.

Earlier, the phantom of the their previous match against Mumbai Indians - who bundled the Knight Riders out for a paltry 67 - seemed to haunt the Kolkata team as they once again got off to a poor start.

Opener Salman Butt (73) played fluently at one end, but his compatriot Mohammad Hafeez, who has not quite struck form in the tournament yet, became Ntini’s first victim in the second over. Hafeez mistimed his flick to get caught by Manpreet Goni at the fine leg.

Hafeez’s fall brought on skipper Saurav Ganguly, who was given a roaring welcome by the crowd of around 90,000. Much was expected from Ganguly who though did not live up to the promise. Ganguly played early a good length Ntini delivery only to find his middle stump blown off.

Butt stuck to his task at one end and batted sensibly, hitting his shots with power and grace. Butt and Debabrata Das (27) brought Knight Riders back on track after the initial jolts. While Butt shifted to attacking mode, Das played a second foil and the duo added 76 runs for fourth wicket.

Ntini came back to rattle Kolkata once again. He bowled both Das and David Hussey in succession to complete an amazing hat-trick, separated by 11 overs and that began with the wicket of Ganguly in the last ball of the third over.

Just when Kolkata were looking to accelerate, the twin strikes forced them on the backfoot. The Super Kings bowled tight in the death overs, allowing batsmen no room as Knight Riders were folded for 149.

In reply, Super Kings got off to a solid start with openers Parthiv Patel and Flemming going great guns.

All eyes were on Shoaib Akhtar, but the Pakistani spearhead twisted his ankle while bowling the first delivery and thereafter he was erratic. Super Kings raced to 55 runs without losing any wicket before duststorm accompanied by rain, halted the match.

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