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Knights squash a Warriors’ uprising

The 55,000-capacity stadium saw its second biggest turnout of the season after witnessing a packed house for the Pune Warriors India's Indian Premier League (IPL) tie against the Mumbai Indians. Amol Karhadkar reports. Scorecard | Local tunes

cricket Updated: May 20, 2011 01:58 IST
Amol Karhadkar

The 55,000-capacity stadium saw its second biggest turnout of the season after witnessing a packed house for the Pune Warriors India's Indian Premier League (IPL) tie against the Mumbai Indians. As much as it was to see Sourav Ganguly in action one last time, that too against his former IPL team, it was also to get a glimpse of the king of entertainment Shah Rukh Khan.

And if the noise levels at the stadium when Khan, a Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner, was shown for the first time on the giant screen were compared with Ganguly's entry to the crease, there were more takers for Khan than his former captain.

War within war

Well, the cricketing fraternity may have been looking up to Thursday's IPL tie as a battle between the Kolkata Knight Riders and their former skipper Ganguly, who was donning the Warriors colours.

However, it was imperative for the 11 Knights who took the field and get over the Ganguly mania if they were to seal their maiden top-four berth in the fourth edition of the IPL.

If the halfway stage was as indication, then the Knight Riders had done their job to perfection as they restricted the
Warriors to a below par 118 for seven at the last game of the season to be staged at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium.

On a wicket had had slowed down and had decent turn to offer, the Warriors, put in to bat, adopted a cautious approach and focussed on saving wickets than scoring runs. In the end, a tidy bowling effort saw the Knight Riders needing to score just under a run-a-ball in order to seal a play-off berth with one league game to spare.

Spin does the trick

Once Gautam Gambhir's move to let Yusuf Pathan bowl the second over bore fruits, with Jesse Ryder holing out to Manoj at long-off, the Warriors were always on the back foot.

And if they had to get their innings going, they had to target at least one of the two left-arm spinners. However, both Iqbal Abdulla and Shakib Al Hasan bowled splendid spells, combining with figures of 7-0-28-3 to take the fizz out of the Warriors' batting.

With southpaws Ganguly, skipper Yuvraj Singh to bowl to and Robin Uthappa batting more as a left-hander with his frequent reverse sweep and switch hit attempts, it was a difficult task for the left-arm duo to keep the Warriors in check.

But they succeeded in their endeavour, putting their team on the brink of a historic moment.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/200511/20_5_11-metro-19.jpg