Balaji stifles Bangalore as Kolkata Knight Riders win comprehensively

Laxmipathy Balaji grabbed four wickets for Kolkata Knight Riders AFP

By B D Narayankar

Bangalore: Apr 10, 2012

Gautam Gambhir hit a strokeful half century while Lakshamipathy Balaji returned with a four-wicket haul as Kolkata Knight Riders brought their campaign back on track with a 42-run victory over Bangalore Royals Challengers in an IPL match on Tuesday.

Sent into bat, the Knight riders posted a challenging 165 for eight in their stipulated 20 overs, thanks to some brilliant batting by skipper Gautam Gambhir, who struck a strokeful 64 in just 39 balls.

Balaji then scalped four wickets giving away just 18 runs and Jacques Kallis accounted for two more as the visitors returned to restrict the Challengers to 123 for nine at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

With this victory, Kolkata snapped their two-match losing streak in the fifth IPL, where they had lost to Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals in their last two encounters respectively.

The Royals Challengers had a disastrous start to their runchase, losing four of their top batsman for just 25 runs with pacers Kallis and Balaji claiming two wickets each.

Kallis started the proceeding in the second over, sending back opener Cheteshwar Pujara (6) who was caught at slip while tring to steer the ball towards third man.

The South African allrounder then scalped the prized wicket of Chris Gayle (2) in his next over. Trying to pull a short delivery from Kallis over midwicket, Gayle ended up top-edging the ball to Laxmi Shukla at mid-on.

Balaji then got ino the act and dismissed Virat Kohli (6) in the sixth over to leave the hosts tottering at 20 for three. Kohli miscued a short and ended up giving a catch to Manoj Tiwari at point.

RCB captain Daniel Vettori brought Muttaiah Muralitharan, who picked up three crucial wickets in his last game against Delhi Daredevils, but he was also shown least respect by Kallis and Gambhir. Kallis welcomed the wily Sri Lankan great with a six over deep square leg fence.

Vettori brought himself in the seventh over and sent back Kallis, caught by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers. Kallis got a thick outside edge looking to cut when the score was 60.

Gambhir reached his half century in the last ball of 13th over off Vinay Kumar. Manvinder Bisla, promoted to number three, struck a few lusty blows to maintain the high run-rate.

In a surprise move, Virat Kohli was brought in to bowl in the eighth over, but he gave away 13 runs in his first over after Bisla lifted him for a six and then for a four.

Bisla, who continued from where Kallis had left, pressed the foot on the accelerator and sliced Vettori for a boundary in the next over. Bisla plundered 11 runs hitting one over the fence for six to Vettori in his third over.

RCB struck back with quick wickets from the 14th over.

Yusuf Pathan was dismissed by Vinay Kumar for one (3 balls) after Bisla fell to Muralitharan.

Zaheer, who scalped his fifth IPL wicket, ran in fast and removed well-set Gambhir and Tiwary for two off five balls in the 17th over.

Muralitharan then claimed Ryan ten Doeschate, caught by Vettori at short fine leg for three in the 18th over. Vinay Kumar sent back Shakib Al Hasan in the 19th over for four when he was caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at long off.

Harshal Patel then removed Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the last KKR wicket to fall, caught Harshal Patel for five before Brett Lee smashed a six off the bowler in the final over.

The match started 20 minutes late due to a power cut.

Apparently, there was a small short circuit due to improper wiring near the advertising boards. (PTI)

Brief Score: KKR 165 for 8 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 64, Manvinder Bisla 46; R Vinay Kumar 2 for 18, Zaheer Khan 2 for 31, Muttiah Muralitharan 2 for 31) beat RCB 123 for 9 (R Vinay Kumar 25, Daniel Vettori 20; Laxmipathy Balaji 4 for 18, Jacques Kallis 2 for 7) by 42 runs.

Man of the Match: Lakshmipathy Balaji

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