Eden Gardens was rocking under the floodlights. The amphitheatre wasn’t packed to capacity, the result didn’t ensure passage to the semifinals, but each moment of triumph of the Kolkata Knight Riders was greeted tumultuously. It’s not clear yet what Shah Rukh Khan is going to tweet. What’s clear is his team virtually shut the doors on the Rajasthan Royals.
It was a question of pulling things back. Shane Warne’s unheralded lot had fast-forwarded to 46 for none from six overs after managing just 24 from four. The Knights bowled brilliantly and imaginatively then on, Murali Kartik once again leading the show with everyone else chipping in. When it came to fielding, Sourav Ganguly led the way, catching a stunner to send back Yusuf Pathan.
The chase was not difficult in terms of calculations on paper and it was Ganguly again who gave the team the direction.
Question marks over his contribution to the team’s cause will remain in terms of strike rate and dot balls, but Saturday was different. Like taking that catch, the captain of the Knights was leading from the front, literally, taking the battle to the opposition bowlers.
And although it came rather late into the competition, there were other Indians contributing to the team’s cause. From Kartik to Ashok Dinda, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Cheteshwar Pujara, they all played their part in the eight-wicket win. It perhaps came a little too late in the day, but Eden Gardens wasn’t complaining. Mr SRK too didn’t have any reason to crib either.
Ganguly’s was an effort with class written all over. The celebrated Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle departed soon after coming in and it was the leader of men leading from the front.
If the catch was a statement of intent, the kind of batting on display was another statement, of telling detractors that you write him off at your own peril.
It might have come a little too late in the day, as far as the future of the Knights in IPL III is concerned, but it was a confirmation of the fact that Ganguly reserves his best when fingers are pointed at him. There are players who come back hard each time they are cornered. Look at Ganguly for example. He keeps coming back from the dead.