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Tuskers take Knights for a ride

cricket Updated: May 06, 2011 01:25 IST
Debjeet Kundu
Debjeet Kundu
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It wasn't as if Brendon McCullum wanted to be cautious in the first over - that's not his style. But Brett Lee ensured the batsman didn't have to move much on a pitch that had a tinge of green on it.

But this wasn't the over that decided the match. While Lee's first was a maiden, his last over went for 22 as fellow Australian Brad Hodge took him apart to set up a 17-run victory for the Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

Story gone awry
Set a target of 157, Eoin Morgan and Jacques Kallis seemed to be on a backwater cruise till the script was changed by Raiphi Gomez in the 10th over.

He picked up Kallis and Gautam Gambhir off successive balls to reduce them to 69 for two, a position from which they never recovered.

Morgan fought a lone battle, but fell to some excellent bowling by Vinay Kumar and Kochi's latest hero, Prasanth Parameswaran.

McCullum needs to introspect on the way he got out while chasing a wide delivery. Refusing to be unfazed by the opener's early departure, skipper Mahela Jayawardene's 55 off 41 balls ensured his team stayed afloat. Hodge's late burst of 35 from 19 balls sealed the fate.

While everything went right for Jayawardene, it was the opposite for Gambhir.

The choice of leg-spinner Sarabjeet Laddha over the in-form Laxmipathy Balaji, on a seaming track, was baffling. While KKR's most successful bowler, spinner, Iqbal Abdulla, failed to strike, Laddha went for 13 runs in his only over.

At 69/1, Gambhir needed to steady the ship, but he chose to hole out to Jayawardene at short cover.

To make matters worse, Manoj Tiwary too had no answer to the disciplined Tuskers' attack.

SRK's presence
The crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium returned and how.

Every time the ball crossed the boundary, waves of orange engulfed everything else. What's more, the near 50,000 crowd was treated to Shah Rukh Khan for the first time as the star sat in his team's colours, waving at the cameras.

Plagued by low ticket sales, the franchise owners must have been smiling, even as the Tuskers took a victory lap to thank the crowd.

The team had started with a loss here, but ensured the fans were happy after their last home game of IPL 4.