All-round Kolkata thump Delhi to reach IPL 2012 final

Sunil Narine picked 2 for 24 in his alloted 4 overs to strangle Delhi Daredevils AFP

Pune: May 22, 2012

Kolkata Knight Riders breezed into the final of the Indian Premier League after scoring a thumping 18-run win over Delhi Daredevils in the first Qualifier.

It was an interesting clash between the two IPL heavyweights but Kolkata emerged winner as they bowled with more discipline with each and every bowler taking at least one wicket.

Kolkata Knight Riders recovered from regular blows to post a fighting 162 for four after electing to bat and then stopped Delhi to 144 for eight at Subrata Roy Sahara stadium.

It is for the first time that KKR have made it to the summit clash in five editions of the league so far.

Yusuf Pathan, who was going through a lean patch so far, struck form just at the right time for Kolkata as his uneaten 40 and a crucial 56-run stand with Laxmi Shukla (24 off 11) in just four overs helped his side cross 150-run mark.

The top three KKR batsmen — Gautam Gambhir (32), Brendon McCullum (31) and Jacques Kallis (30) batted well but could not convert the starts into big knocks.

Delhi too paid the price of not having big partnerships as they lost wickets intermittently. Pressure gradually grew and the lower-order batsmen failed to soak in that.

Mahela Jayawardene top scored for them with his 40 and for Kolkata Jacques Kallis (2/24) and Sunil Narine (2/24) shared four wickets between them.

Delhi still have a chance to make the final as they will play in second Qualifier on May 25 against the winner of the Eliminator, which will be plyed between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.

Earlier, Delhi bowlers struck regularly to almost make it look like a no-contest but Pathan’s 21-ball 40 and Shukla’s 24 off 11 balls brought Kolkata back in the match.

KKR were 106 for four in 16 overs but Pathan and Shukla came out all guns blazing and punihsed Delhi bowlers severely.

Gambhir led the side to a decent start as he smashed 32 off just 16 balls before a tragic run out ended his partnership with McCullum.

Things were not going Delhi’s way as Gambhir continued with his red-hot form. He hit Umesh Yadav for a six in the second over and also hit Varun Aaron for a six and four. However, a direct hit from Venugopal Rao, when Gambhir went explored a non-existent single, ended his knock.

It was Gambhir who was scoring fast as McCullum relied more on ones and twos. His stay at the crease was almost close to 10 overs but the Kiwi could find only two boundaries.

Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi was getting sharp turn from the pitch and he troubled both McCullum and Jacques Kallis. He bowled brilliant three overs initially and gave away 11 runs.

The only blemish was a six McCullum hit off him but the spinner had the last laugh as he got the Kiwi two balls later. Kallis was meanwhile dropped by Pathan off his own bowling.

KKR suffered another blow when Pathan had Shakib Al Hasan caught behind. KKR were struggling as they were 99 for three in 15 overs. Their big hope was Kallis but the South African too departed when he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Yadav.

Yusuf Pathan lifted gloom by hitting Morne Morkel for a six and pushed the accelerator button. He also hit Yadav for a four and was getting good support from Laxmi Shukla.

Both of the them creamed Morkel for 15 runs and Varun Aaron for 21 runs in the last two overs. Pathan hammered Aaron for one six and two fours. (PTI)

Brief Scores: KKR 162 for 4 in 20 overs (Yusuf Pathan 40 not out, Gautam Gambhir 32, Brendon McCullum 31, Pawan Negi 1 for 18, Irfan Pathan 1 for 20) bt DD 144 for 8 in 20 overs (Mahela Jayawardene 40, Naman Ojha 29, Jacques Kallis 2 for 24, Sunil Narine 2 for 24) by 18 runs

Man of the match: Yusuf Pathan

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