If there is paradise, it isn’t Eden
Thanks to a solid opening stand, the Chennai team registered another victory and move closer to the semi-finals. KR Guruprasad reports.Updated: May 19, 2008, 02:11 IST
There is a degree of surrealism attached to it when a vociferous crowd of about 80,000 suddenly go silent. And at the Eden Gardens here, it doesn't get quieter than when their 'Dada' gets out.
It was a well paced knock of 73 by Salman Butt which gave Kolkata the necessary impetus to propel them to a total of 149 for five in 20 overs, after his captain Sourav Ganguly elected to bat against Chennai here. For Chennai, Makhaya Ntini picked up four wickets and gave away only 21 runs.
After opener Mohammed Hafeez fell in the third over, Kolkata IPL captain Sourav Ganguly came into bat to a euphoric welcome from his home crowd.
Having been dismissed for a paltry 67 in their previous tie against Mumbai, Ganguly and his men would have been looking for a big score here.
But the Sunday crowd here did not get to see their home team get away to a rollicking start or to a big total.
Ganguly began with a couple of hit and misses. But he never really found it easy going as he failed to connect any of the big shot he attempted and was eventually bowled in the eighth ball he faced.
He tried to step out and clear the in-field to a ball Nitni pitched on the middle stump line and the batsman missed it completely to see the woodwork get rattled.
There was a sudden shout of disbelief from the crowd and then silence. And that summed up the mood for Kolkata team as they tried to avenge the defeat by the same team in an away match.
As the race for the semi-finals hots up, Kolkata, placed sixth on the points table and Chennai, on the third spot, are eager to register wins.
And Chennai bowlers, in extremely hot condition, stuck to their task bowling a strict line and length. Ntini, having sent back Hafeez and Ganguly, struck in the 17th over, when he had Debabrata Das bowled in the first ball of the over. On the next ball, he sent back David Hussey with a faster ball, which was angled in.
While the other Kokata batsmen struggled, Butt was clearly in good nick. He played to his strengths sending the ball to square off the wicket or making room for himself and clearing the in-field.
He was particularly severe on Muttiah Muralitharan. He went down on his knees to slog a flighted delivery into the stands behind square leg. And in the 16th over, he took apart the Sri Lankan spinner's bowling with three boundaries.
The first one was off a flighted ball, which was sent to ropes at the midwicket after the batsman made room for himself and hit it there. The second was a thick edge to third-man region and the third was a slog to the deep mid wicket.
Butt fell in the 18th over when he tried to paddle scoop Laxmipathy Balaji.
The ball struck his pads in front of the stumps and the leg before appeal was upheld.