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Warrior made to face home truth

india Updated: May 06, 2012 13:02 IST
Somshuvra Laha


For that fleeting moment, the raw emotions were exposed. Shah Rukh Khan tightly hugged daughter Suhana as Sourav Ganguly glanced at the box that once used to root for him before making a hurried exit ahead of the customary post-match handshake.

But that was it. Ganguly soon came out of the visitors' dressing room to adhere to the tradition as did King Khan when he entered the Pune Warriors dressing room to congratulate them on their effort.

Even the usually reserved Gautam Gambhir leaped in joy after the win. It was that kind of a match. Need to pull up our socks in batting: Gambhir

Losing momentum
"It happened at the heat of the moment," said the KKR captain later. "The media had created a lot of hype. But I always said it was just another game."

Rarely would you see a team reaching 98/0 in 10 overs finish with half of those from the next ten, but such is the fickle nature of Twenty20 cricket. The margin of error is very thin as KKR realised in the latter half of their innings. In hindsight, Gambhir and Brendon McCullum could have stretched their stay.

Gambhir, especially, looked in sublime form, going down the pitch and hitting deliveries over mid-wicket.

"I have been pretty fortunate that I came to bat on the best wicket when the ball was hard. But I still feel considering the depth we have, we should have got 170-180," said Gambhir. But Pune Warriors fielded exceptionally well and bowled cleverly to check KKR's run-flow on a two-paced wicket.

Disastrous start
It was nevertheless a stiff target and only got tougher when Michael Clarke was bowled through his gates by Marchant de Lange, the ball just brushing the bails. Steven Smith would also consider himself unlucky after being given lbw against Sunil Narine though he seemed to have got an inside edge. All this while, Ganguly, quite surprisingly, kept himself in the dugout.

The move didn't pay as the Warriors could only accumulate 55 runs for their first five wickets, leaving a mountain to climb. Narine troubled him initially but Ganguly freed his arms by upper-cutting Kallis, followed by a chat with the South African.

Angelo Mathews turned the game on its heads with three consecutive sixes off Yusuf Pathan. Ganguly too upped the ante by depositing Rajat Bhatia in the stands but then fell trying to repeat that, holing out to Iqbal Abdulla. Ganguly walked back amidst fervent chants of 'KKR, KKR', knowing it was all but over.