In between a drizzle and torrential rain, the Kolkata Knight Riders took a giant step towards the playoffs at the Eden Gardens on Saturday. And a small step towards righting their abysmal record against the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.
The bowlers set it up and the batsmen looked on their way to sealing the win before the rain came down. The Knight Riders won by 10 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis rule, only their second success against the Super Kings in seven attempts.
Having won seven of their 11 matches, Gautam Gambhir and his men will probably need to claim one more to be assured of a place in the play-offs. The top two teams after the league stage get two chances to make it to the final in the new system of qualifiers and eliminators. So finishing in the top two could be the Knight Riders' next target.
Almost everything went right for the Knight Riders after an afternoon drizzle delayed the start by an hour. In front of a capacity crowd, a first for the season, and watched by Shah Rukh Khan and his entourage, their pacers and spinners bowled with discipline to stifle the Super Kings batsmen on a sluggish pitch.
The Knight Riders had opted for a new pitch for this match, having played all five previous home ties on the adjacent track. However, the new one was equally devoid of pace and unsuitable for strokeplay. Brett Lee showed what needs to be done on a pitch like this. He bowled wicket-to-wicket on a good length. Only at the death did he bowl a couple of yorkers wide of off-stump.