Homecoming was sweet for the Kolkata Knight Riders after the defending champions kept themselves in contention for an outside chance of making the playoffs with a win against the Rajasthan Royals.
Spinners thrived on a slow Eden Gardens pitch as their batsmen showed there's still
life beyond Gautam Gambhir when it comes to chasing a modest, albeit challenging total.
Manvinder Bisla made up for a massive blooper by providing KKR a smooth start. And while Jacques Kallis once again proved a stabilising factor, Yusuf Pathan finally struck form to reach his personal best score for KKR and finish the game against the team where he had first made his name.
There was no dearth of support for Rahul Dravid too but his outing, possibly his last at the arena where he made history 12 years ago, wasn't memorable. Then he had batted an entire day with VVS Laxman but on Friday he got just three balls. He caressed the first one to the boundary, missed the next and ended surviving a run-out appeal while sprinting for two runs.
Bisla, however, soured that momentary high when Dravid got involved in an altercation with him after Watson exchanged a few words with Bisla in the early part of KKR's innings. But it wasn't the only thing that had spoiled Dravid's day. KKR's impressive bowling was a factor while Dravid too might have missed a trick by not fielding Ajit Chandila on this kind of a track.
When it comes to starts at home, few get it as right as KKR when they bowl. Except of course the extras they conceded. Had it not been for the four wides in the first six overs, KKR could have had a better start in the Powerplay. Still captain Gautam Gambhir had little to complain. Narwal was milked for two successive boundaries by Shane Watson but Senanayake and Iqbal Abdullah kept Rajasthan under check.
All this of course happened without Sunil Narine getting a ball till the 11th over, which again showed KKR's bowling depth and variety at home. Narine, quite predictably, struck in his first over when he trapped Watson leg-before just when the Australia all-rounder looked set to play a long innings.
Owais Shah and Sanju Samson tried to resurrect Rajasthan. Narine would have been left peeved when Bisla dropped a simple catch that came off the edge of Samson's bat.
He however couldn't exploit the reprieve.