Half-centuries from Manoj Tiwary and Sourav Ganguly, coupled with a disciplined bowling performance, saw Kolkata Knight Riders register a comfortable 39-run victory over Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League match, in Mohali, on Saturday.
Tiwary provided the flourish in the closing stages as he finished unbeaten on a cracking innings of 75 from 47 balls, having hit eight boundaries and two sixes, while captain Ganguly chipped with 50 from 40 balls before lifting Irfan Pathan straight to Piyush Chawla at long-off to take Kolkata to 183 for five in their 20 overs.
Punjab's batting woes continued as they finished on a paltry 144 for six in their 20 overs and suffered their fifth loss in the tournament in six matches.
Pacer Shane Bond proved his worth, claiming two for 24 runs in four probing overs, while Ajit Agarkar took two for 32 in his comeback for Kolkata.
Punjab's batsmen once again failed to deliver. Kumar Sangakkara top scored with 30 from 27 balls while the rest of the batsmen failed to get going and threw wickets away.
The victory keeps Kolkata's chances of making it to the semi-finals alive after their third victory in six matches, which perched them to fifth in the standings.Kolkata Knight Riders:
Brett Lee was included in the Punjab squad but his first over went for 19 runs, including four byes behind the wickets.
Chris Gayle hit him for a boundary each on either side of the wicket, while he was fortunate with the third when he got a thick edge to the thirdman region.
Sourav Ganguly also looked to take the attacking route right from the start and hit Irfan Pathan for back-to-back boundaries in the next over.
However, Shalabh Srivastava bowled a superb third over, conceding just one run while taking the wicket of Gayle for 14.
The left-hander pulled a short delivery from Srivastava but was brilliantly caught by Manvinder Bisla, who ran a long way on the boundary before completing the catch. Kolkata were reduced to 28 for one after three overs.
Ganguly then went after Srivastava, whom he hit for two boundaries in the fifth over of the innings. But the left-arm pacer dealt Kolkata another big blow when he claimed the wicket of Mandeep Singh for four, the batsman lobbing a simple catch to mid-on while attempting to pull a short delivery.
That wicket seemed to have pegged back Kolkata with just six runs coming from the next two overs, including just a single from Piyush Chawla's first over.
Ganguly tried hard to break the shackles without success.
At the halfway stage, Kolkata were 75 for two, with Ganguly unbeaten on 32 from 26 balls and Manoj Tiwary 15 not out.
The Kolkata captain then brought his team some relief when he hit Chawla straight down the ground for a six and followed it up with a boundary through covers, in the 11th over.
Tiwary then continued the momentum, hitting Vikramjeet Malik for two more boundaries to take Kolkata past the 100-run mark in the 12th over.
Meanwhile, Dav Whatmore was seen in the dugout angrily signalling towards the two batsmen to play a few more attacking shots.
Ganguly completed his half-century from 37 deliveries, with a single on the leg side off Bopara in the 14th over.
Meanwhile, Tiwary continued to find the boundaries with regularity, scoring five in the space of three overs, to race to 45 from 30 balls and take the total to 124 for two after 14 overs.
Pathan bowled two dot deliveries in a row to Ganguly before the veteran batsman threw his wicket away in frustration.
Ganguly made 50 from 40 balls before lofting a simple catch to Chawla at long-off.
It turned out to be a splendid over from Pathan, who conceded just two runs while taking the wicket of the Kolkata captain.
Ganguly never really got going during his 79-run partnership in 57 deliveries for the third wicket with Tiwary.
In the next over, Chawla struck with the big wicket of David Hussey, who charged down the wicket but was beaten in the flight and was bowled for 3.
The onus now lay on Tiwary to provide the boost in the final overs. The youngster completed his half-century from 37 balls as he guided a full toss from Pathan through the point region, in the 17th over.
Angelo Mathews could not do much as he scored 19 from 11 balls before Lee held a sharp catch at covers off Pathan.
However, Tiwary did the damage in the final four deliveries, hitting Pathan for two sixes and two boundaries to take the total to 183 for five in 20 overs.
That last over (which went for 21 runs) spoiled Pathan's figures as he gave away 42 runs in his four overs, taking two wickets, while Srivastava took two for 23 in three.
Kings XI Punjab:
Punjab continued juggling with the opening position and this time Ravi Bopara had a new opening partner in Yuvraj Singh.
But it was Kolkata who got off to a good start, with pacer Shane Bond striking in the very first over of the innings. Bond gave Kolkata an early wicket when he trapped Bopara leg before wicket for a duck.
Yuvraj went after Ashok Dinda and smacked him for a couple of boundaries; Manvinder Bisla hit one over mid-on for three boundaries in the fourth over to get the innings going.
Yuvraj went after Ajit Agarkar in his very first over when he pulled him for a boundary through midwicket while the next one was despatched straight down the ground for a six. But it was the bowler, who had the last laugh, when he got the big wicket of Yuvraj for 24 from 16 balls.
The left-hander tried to pull a short delivery only to hole it to the midwicket region where Manoj Tiwary completed a good catch, diving to his right.
Bisla got a lifeline when wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha missed an easy stumping off Gayle in the seventh over. But the right-hander did not make most of the opportunities and was dismissed in the very next over, chipping Agarkar straight to Hussey at mid-off for 22.
Punjab's innings never got into any sort of rhythm and boundaries were a rare commodity as the total reached 74 for three at the halfway stage, with 110 needed from the last ten overs.
Despite having two of their most experienced batsmen -- Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene -- in the middle, the match was slowly drifting from Punjab's grasp.
Kolkata managed to string a tight spell of three overs during which Punjab didn't get a single boundary despite the asking rate in excess of 12 runs per over.
The pressure finally paid off when Jayawardene was bowled by a yorker from compatriot Angel Mathews after a painstaking innings of 16 from 15 balls.
Sangakkara finally broke the spell of singles when he drove Mathews straight down the ground for a boundary, the first in 26 balls for Punjab as they reached 97 for four in 14 overs.
But the Punjab captain perished in the next over when he tried to reverse sweep Gayle but lost his balance and was stumped by an alert Saha behind the wickets for a 27-ball 30.
Bond, who bowled a fantastic spell of one for four in two overs, added another wicket to his tally in his final over. Irfan Pathan was done in by Bond's express pace; he was way too late on the pull shot and ended up spooning a simple return catch to the bowler for 22.
Punjab finished on a disappointing 144 for six in their 20 overs and lost the match by 39 runs.
They continue to stay bottom, having lost five of their six matches played in the tournament despite having all their top foreign players available to them.
Bond was Kolkata's best bowler as he claimed two for 24 in four overs, while Agarkar took two for 32.
The victory, Kolkata's third in six games, saw them jump to fifth position in the table and also kept their hopes alive of making it to the semi-finals.
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