Sourav, Gul star in Knight Riders turnaround(Lead)

May 26th, 2008 - 2:13 am ICT by admin  


Kolkata, May 26 (IANS) Sourav Ganguly and Umur Gul scripted a sensational victory for Kolkata Knight Riders defeating Kings XI Punjab by thee wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Eden Gardens here Sunday night. Chasing a target of 175, Kolkata Knight Riders were at the deep end at 112 for six before Gul (24 off 11) and Ganguly (86 not out off 53) turned the tables in the last five overs with some incredible hits. The duo blasted 43 runs off just 18 balls littering the Eden Gardens with fours and sixes and finished the match with two balls to spare.

Ganguly’s innings was studded with six sixes and six fours while Gul hit three massive six and one boundary.

It was an inconsequential match for the home team but they ended their inaugural IPL with some solace after Sunday’s win with 13 points from 14 matches. Kings XI have already qualified for the semifinals.

Ganguly, opening the innings, fought a lonely battle and as the team kept losing wickets at regular intervals and failed to get a good partnership going. With Salman Butt (24), the skipper gave Knight Riders a good start by putting up 52 runs in 5.2 overs for the first wicket.

After Akash Chopra gave away his wicket to James Hopes in 15.3 over, Knight Riders were staring down the barrel and needed 69 runs off 28 balls. Gul came to the crease and turned the game on its head.

After playing out one ball, he hit Hopes for two consecutive sixes to finish off the over. Ganguly then attacked Piyush Chawla (2-36) and smacked him for 6,4,6 in the first three balls. The game had changed as 28 came in just five balls for Knight Riders.

The duo kept up the attacking tempo and 23 were required in 12 balls. Gul got out to V.R.V. Singh (2-28) in the penultimate over but Ganguly hit two mighty sixes off Irfan Pathan in the nerve-wracking last over to score the 15 runs required of it, sparking celebrations among the 30,000 crowd at the stadium.

In the last five overs, Ganguly along with Gul scored 73 runs to stop Kings XI’s winning streak. Gul was named Man of the Match for his allround perffromance as he also picked up four for 23.

In the last tie, Knight Riders’ owner and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s motivational SMSes worked wonders for the team.

Earlier, powered by solid innings from Kumar Sangakkara (64) and Shaun Marsh (41), the Punjab team reached the highest total at the Eden Gardens in this tournament.

Marsh has been in fine form at top of the order and he proved his worth once again. Sangakkara making his return after a rib injury made life difficult for the hosts with his second consecutive half-century.

Sangakkara was on fire and looked for a big score but a dodgy leg-before decision went against him just after he tried to walk across his stumps to pull Gul on the front foot for six.

Gull was the most disciplined bowler among the Knight Riders and was on a hat-trick in the last over. He came up with the yorkers to strike twice in the 20th over, and finished with splendid figures of four for 23.

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