Captain Sourav Ganguly [ Images ] led from the front to ensure Kolkata Knight Riders [ Images ] a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals [ Images ] in their Indian Premier League [ Images ] match at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
It was the Knight Riders' biggest win ever in the tournament batting second.
Ganguly's unbeaten 50-ball 75 was inclusive of 11 hits to the fence and two huge ones over it; he was also involved in an unbroken third-wicket stand with Cheteshwar Pujara [ Images ] (45 not out) that yielded the hosts 111 runs (off just 80 balls) and took them to victory.
Chasing a modest target (133) to win, the hosts raced home with a whopping 29 balls to spare and for the loss of just two wickets.
It was Kolkata's sixth win in 13 matches but only their second in the last five.
It moved up their points total to 12 and with a game left to play - at home against table toppers Mumbai Indians [ Images ] - their faint semi-finals hopes remain.
The win was just their second over the team from Rajasthan in six matches and sweet revenge for the thrashing they had received at Motera earlier in the tournament.
As regards Rajasthan Royals, it was their eighth defeat in 14 matches and their third in succession - the Shane Warne-led side had also started the tournament with three straight defeats.
The champions of the inaugural edition (2008) ended their campaign with 12 points and were disappointing for a second successive season.
The Kolkata innings began on an aggressive note with captain Ganguly hitting a couple of boundaries off Yusuf Pathan's [ Images ] first over.
However, Shane Warne [ Images ] handed the ball over to Kamran Khan in the next over, and the latter expressed his gratitude with a double strike.
The paceman first had McCullum caught by Watson at square leg and two balls later cleaned up Chris Gayle [ Images ] (0) to give his side a whisker of hope.
Ganguly and Cheteshwar Pujara combined well though for the third wicket to take the home team to 64 for two after nine overs (the first strategic time out).
The duo were stronger after resumption and Rajasthan couldn't break their effective partnership -- for the record it was a record partnership for the third wicket for the Knight Riders.
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals were pegged back to a modest total after a spectacular start, the visitors managing to make just 132 for nine in their stipulated 20 overs.
Having got off to a good start, the Royals lost their way midway in the innings, giving away their wickets in a canter.
Jaidev Unadkat was the most successful of the Kolkata bowlers with figures of three for 26 but Shane Bond [ Images ] was the most impressive bowler by far, his figures reading 4-1-20-1.
The team from Rajasthan began on a sedate note with Shane Watson (44) hitting Shane Bond for a boundary each in the fast bowler's first two overs.
Naman Ojha [ Images ] (18) too broke loose in the fourth over, helping himself to two boundaries off Ashoke Dinda.
The introduction of Murali Kartik [ Images ] helped Watson break free.
The Australian smashed successive boundaries of Kartik and then hit a six over midwicket off Unadkat before finding the boundary again.
Watson helped himself to two more boundaries in Kartik's second over. Going into the first strategic timeout - taken after seven overs - the visitors looked good at 57 without loss.
The home team got the breakthrough in the third ball after resumption, Laxmi Ratan Shukla making Watson drag one onto his stumps.
The Australian's 26-ball knock was inclusive of seven hits to the fence and one over it, and he put on 59 runs for the opening wicket with Ojha to give his side a solid start.
Yusuf Pathan (8) was promted up the order and he almost holed out in the second ball he faced.
However, Kartik not only dropped the catch at deep square leg but aslo helped the ball on its way to the fence.
Unadkat though provided Kolkata another breakthrough when he had Ojha caught by Shukla at point.
And the young bowler was rewarded with a second dismissal when Ganguly took a spectacular catch to sent back Yusuf.
It was downhill for Rajasthan from then on.
Adam Voges (8) was caught wide of long-on by Kartik off Dinda, Aaron Finch made a run-a-ball 21 before being cleaned up by Bond and Abhishek Raut (2) was caught at mid-off by Chris Gayle to give Unadkat his third wicket.
Going into the second strategic timeout - taken after the 16th over - Rajasthan were tottering at 104 for six.
There was no respite after resumption as well with the visitors somehow scampering to their eventual total.