Royal Challengers bounce back after four losses (Lead)

April 29th, 2009 - 11:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Durban, April 29 (IANS) Bangalore Royal Challengers after four consecutive losses in the Indian Premier League (IPL) breathed life into their campaign with a five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a close finish at Kingsmead here Wednesday.
Knight Riders, who were restricted to 139 for six in 20 overs after choosing to bat, slumped to their fourth loss in six matches to go at the bottom of the standings.

Royal Challengers recovered from the middle-over jitters to reach the target with a ball to spare, thanks to an unbeaten 13-ball 25 by man of the match Mark Boucher, who was playing after a gap.

With Royal Challengers needing 10 off the last over, Boucher hit Chris Gayle for two fours, to close the match in their favour. Brad Hodge emerged the most successful bowler for the Knight Riders with 3-29.

Royal Challengers’ skipper Kevin Pietersen surprised everyone with his decision to bowl the first over but it gave instant result. Pietersen removed captain Brendon McCullum in the very first ball, ensuring the New Zealander’s misery with the bat continues.

Hodge (17) and Chris Gayle (40) scored briskly but the slow track stifled the big hitters from taking the aerial route. Hodge, however, made merry with Pankaj Singh, smacking two fours and a six, in the bowlers’ only over.

The introduction of Anil Kumble in the sixth over spelled doom for Kolkata, losing Hodge in the leg-spinner’s very first over, trapped leg-before.

IPL debutant Morne van Vyk (43 not out) joined forces with determined Gayle after Sourav Ganguly’s early dismissal and kept the board ticking.

Gayle, however, nursing an injured toe and batting with a runner didn’t stay long and holed a catch to Goswami off Prabhu Appanna, with Knight Riders tottering at 70 for four.

Van Vyk and Wriddhiman Saha (21), playing his first game this season after a fractured thumb, batted with resolve to take Kolkata to a defendable total.

In reply, Royal Challengers were off to a slow but a solid start through their openers Shreevats Goswami (43) and Jacques Kallis (23). Just when things were going out of control for Knight Riders, Hodge provided the breakthrough. Goswami handed a catch to Van Vyk to end a 69 run stand with Kallis.

Ishant got Kallis in the next over and suddenly the Royal Challengers were 77-2. Hodge then dismissed Virat Kohli and Pietersen in one over, reducing them to 107 for four.

Roelof van der Merwe and Boucher were looking dangerous but Ishant bowled a tight 19th over, including the wicket of Van der Merwe in the second last ball to take the match to last over.

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