Kings XI Punjab raised early hopes but failed to get away from the Kolkata Knight Riders bowling and were eventually tied to a modest 119 for six, much to the joy of the Eden Gardens crowd.
Gautam Gambhir opened the bowling with Brett Lee and the Australian's first over too went without hitch. But Adam Gilchrist decided to free his arms in the next over, hitting over long on and then through midwicket to take 12 runs off that over. That was enough for Gambhir to think spin.
Left-arm Iqbal Abdulla, who has had a fruitful run so far, came on the next over, and with Yusuf Pathan from the other end, started slowing down the scoring. With the pitch assisting turn and odd bounce, the condition was suited for spin.
Valthaty went first. He tried to hit Pathan out of the attack but only managed to send it down Manoj Tiwary's throat at long-on.
Shaun Marsh was run out following a horrible mix-up with Gilchrist, whose subsequent dismissal underlined the Kings XI batsmen's plight against spin. Abdulla bowled the Australian with a short one that skidded through.
The KKR fielding soon got tighter. Dinesh Karthik, who top-scored with 42, pushed Rajat Bhatia for a single but Eoin Morgan swooped and released it even before completing the dive and Abhishek Nayar was gone. In the last over, Pathan was brilliant, firing in a throw from cover to run out Karthik.
Bhargav Bhatt, the highest wicket taker in the Ranji Trophy in the last season, removed Jacques Kallis with his very first ball in the IPL. Induced into a drive, Kallis was surprised by a delivery that stopped and came and checked his drive, only to give a tame catch to David Hussey. Morgan also fell to a brilliant catch, but Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary took charge. Allowing the ball to come to their bats, they rotated the strike well. After that, it was only a matter of time.
Tiwary made 34 and was again not out. He and Gambhir (45 no) added an unbeaten 85-run partnership.