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A Taylor-made win for Bangalore

By Rediff cricket
Last updated on: May 12, 2009 19:52 IST
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A valiant 81 not out from man-of-the-match Ross Taylor helped Royal Challengers Bangalore get past Kolkata Knight Riders' formidable total with six wickets remaining in their Indian Premier League match at SuperSport Park, Centurion on Tuesday.

Chasing 174 to win, the team for Bangalore squeezed through to 176 for four with four balls left.

The New Zealander's superlative innings came of just 33 balls and contained seven hits to the fence and five huge ones over it, and was arguably the most aggressive innings in this year's competition.

Taylor's unbeaten fifth wicket partnership of 54 with Mark Boucher (13/10) came of just 22 balls and help Bangalore seal their fifth win in the competition.

Going into the match, the team from Bangalore remained in a quandary. Two successive defeats, against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians respectively, meant they found themselves second from bottom in the table only a week after the team was on fourth riding high after three successive victories.

With eight points from their 10 games in their bag thus far, another two points from this game ensured they climbed upto fifth and are back in the hunt for a place in the last four.

Kolkata, who suffered their ninth defeat in 11 matches, was out of contention in any case and was playing more for pride than points. They look certain to end up with the proverbial wooden spoon.

Earlier, a 70-run partnership for the third wicket by captain Brendon McCullum (84 n.o.) and David Hussey (47) helped Kolkata Knight Riders post a formidable 173 for four. It was Kolkata's highest total in the second edition of the event. But as it turned out, it was still not good enough.

McCullum's unbeaten 84 came of just 64 deliveries (10x4, 2x6) and though it was nowhere near his belligerent 158 not out against the same opposition – which continues to be the tournament's highest score – in the opening match of the inaugural edition it was nonetheless a refreshing change to witness the New Zealander middle the ball well for the first time this fall.

Kolkata innings:

Bangalore captain Anil Kumble won the toss and invited Kolkata to bat first.

And the decision proved to be a masterstroke early on.

R Vinay Kumar accounted for former captain Sourav Ganguly (4/6), promoted to open the innings in his second over and Arindam Ghosh (7/7) in his third, both caught by Mark Boucher behind the stumps.

In came Hussey, playing for the first time in the second edition and with his team in trouble.

The Australian responded perfect on drive of Vinay Kumar that raced its way to the boundary and went ballistic in the next over, first smashing Jacques Kallis over covers for a maximum and following it up with a boundary at point.

Brendon McCullum, the Kolkata captain who had began his innings with two boundaries towards covers of Kallis' first over, survived a difficult chance when Boucher failed to hold on to a tough chance of Jesse Ryder's second ball and the ball made its way to the boundary.

The New Zealander slowly gained confidence, a fine boundary through point of KP Appana being a case in point.

Hussey smashed Kumble over the long off fence for a maximum to ensure Kolkata went into the strategic time out having regained their confidence to an extent, after that sordid start. They were 69 for two at the break.

McCullum took a single of the second ball after resumption to complete a 50-run stand for the third wicket, a partnership that brought succour to the distressed Kolkata camp.

However, three overs later, the relief turned into despair as B Akhil crashed Hussey's middle stump as the batsman paid the price for trying to improvise too much.

Hussey made 43 of just 27 balls (3x4, 2x6) and looked comfortable throughout. Only if he had stayed on for a bit longer.

Kolkata was precariously placed at 102 for three after 15 overs. But the 16th over from Kumble helped them add 11 more runs to their tally, with both debutant Angelo Matthews and McCullum helping themselves with boundaries.

And another 20 came in the 17th over bowled by Akhil, with McCullum hitting successive maximums.

The New Zealander first cleared the midwicket fence and then repeated the act, this time towards deep backward square leg to bring about his first half century in the competition.

An edge from Matthews' blade flew past Boucher to ensure Kolkata their most profitable over.

However, Bangalore hit back through their captain, Kumble enticing Matthews (16/13) to hit straight to Virat Kohli at long on. 

But in the penultimate over (by Vinay Kumar), McCullum went ballistic, hitting three straight boundaries, the first two being bizarre scoops between the keeper and fine leg. The over cost Bangalore 16 runs and the 150 was up for Kolkata.

McCullum went a step further in the final over by Kallis, taking 20 including boundaries over backward square leg and past third man.

Wridhiman Saha (10/5) joined the party smashing the final ball past the midwicket fence for the maximum as 71 runs came of the last five overs.

Bangalore innings:

Bangalore started their innings on a sedate note, just two runs coming of Ishant Sharma's first over.

Kolkata opened with Ajantha Mendis from the other end and the wily Sri Lankan gave away just five runs even though he started of with a no ball.

Kallis got a reprieve in the first ball of Ishant's second over when his mis-timed upper cut was misjudged by Mendis at third man and got him a boundary instead.

Ryder's pull beat the fielder at deep backward square leg and the boundary ensured 10 runs from that over.

Ajit Agarkar replaced Mendis and Bangalore expressed their gratitude by taking another 10 from that over, Kallis first getting a boundary over cover and following it up with a superb six.

The Bangalore charge meant Kolkata panicked a bit and introduce Matthews and Hussey into the attack, meaning five bowlers had been used inside the Powerplay.

For the record, the two overs went for 19, with both Ryder and Kallis helping them with a boundary each of Hussey while the former also guiding a Matthews full toss to the mid off fence.

Murali Kartik was introduced soon after and the left armer ensured Kolkata their first breakthrough in his second over, having Kallis (32/24) caught brilliantly by McCullum.

The opening wicket partnership had yielded Bangalore 58 runs from 50 balls but Kallis' departure hastened the exit of his partner. Ryder (22/20) hung around for exactly an over more, before hitting an Agarkar delivery straight to Ganguly at third man.

Bangalore went into the strategic time out in trouble at 70 for two, just a run ahead of Kolkata at that stage (having lost the same number of wickets).

More importantly, they requirement had increased to 104 from the remaining 10 overs.

In Kartik's first over after the break Robin Uthappa (7/9) hit what appeared to be a good shot till it went straight to Matthews at deep backward square leg.

Bangalore 74 for three after 11 overs, requiring exactly 100 runs from 54 balls. It was 80 for three after 12 overs.

And then Ross Taylor cut loose.

The New Zealander smashed Kartik for successive maximums, both over midwicket, to signal his intention.

The next over from Matthews cost Kolkata 16 runs, Taylor going ballistic with three boundaries.

Mendis accounted for Dravid (12/12) in his final over but with 52 runs required of the final four overs, Taylor stepped up the gear.

Agarkar went for 12 in his penultimate over, with Taylor finding the boundary twice, the first past the square leg and the second past the short fine leg, the second shot ensuring the Kiwi a well-deserved half-century (of just 24 balls).

Ishant's final over cost Kolkata dear – 19 to be precise. Taylor smashed the third ball past mid offf for a boundary, the next was an inside edge that went past the keeper Saha and two balls later, Boucher cleared the deep backward square leg fence (of what was a no ball).

The onslaught meant only 21 was required of the final two overs, and Agarkar conceded 16 of his final over, with Taylor helping himself with two more maximums, to put the issue beyond doubt.

And Taylor sealed it with a maximum over midwicket of Matthews.

Kolkata were guilty of playing into Taylor's strength, by peppering him with deliveries continuosly on the leg stump, and he expressed his gratitude with a match-winning knock, albeit ensuring Kolkata's downfall.

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