Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Daredevils by 14 runs
The Knight Riders risked a hole in the middle-order by dumping David Hussey and opted for more power in the top three by handing Brendon McCullum his first cap in IPL III. Atreyo Mukhopadhyay reports.cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2010 00:27 IST
Sourav Ganguly took three gambles in his team's battle for survival in the showdown against the Delhi Daredevils. He also made four changes to the XI to take on the side placed second in the table. Teams with their back to the wall have to do such things. Sometimes they click, sometimes they don't. On Wednesday they did.
The Knight Riders risked a hole in the middle-order by dumping David Hussey and opted for more power in the top three by handing Brendon McCullum his first cap in IPL III.
The Kiwi lasted just seven balls but a 70-run stand in 41 balls between Angelo Mathews and Manoj Tiwary made up for the Australian's absence.
Ganguly restructured the bowling completely by bringing in Ajantha Mendis, Iqbal Abdulla and Ashok Dinda in place of Shane Bond, Murali Kartik and Jaidev Unadkat. The danger here was missing the pace spearhead, one of the most economical spinners of the tournament and fielding Dinda, who has a tendency to go for plenty.
As it so happened, Dinda bowled nine dot balls in an opening spell of 2-0-7-1, Mendis tied an end up and also took two wickets, while Abdulla came back well after going for 11 in the first over.
Some inspired fielding by Ganguly himself and the bowlers, barring Mathews, performed as a team as the Knights kept alive their semifinal hopes with a 14-run win.
The Daredevils were very much in the hunt when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were burning bright under the lights. The asking rate was manageable, the boundaries were coming and they had wickets in hand to reach 91 for one after 10 overs. The Knights needed something special and it came in the form of a direct hit by Ganguly which ran out Gambhir.
Sehwag was going great guns and threatening to take it away from the Knights when Agarkar took his biggest wicket of the tournament.
It was almost a yorker that took the inside edge and disturbed the woodwork.
The chase was practically over and Ganguly's men got what they wanted before travelling to Bangalore and Chennai. He needs to keep pulling rabbits out of the hat on the road.