Yusuf Pathan

Yusuf Pathan struck 72 off just 44 balls before getting out in a rather freakish manner © AFP (File Pic)

By Jaideep Vaidya
 
Ranchi: May 15, 2013
 
An explosive 98-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Kolkata Knight Riders’ Yusuf Pathan (72 off 44 balls) and Ryan ten Doeschate (42 off 30 balls) threatened to hand the Pune Warriors their 12th straight defeat of the season, before a remarkable and dramatic turnaround towards the end ensured a seven-run win for the bottom-placed team. Kolkata maintained their seventh place in the points table and have no chance of qualifying from now with one game left.
 
KKR were off to a disastrous start chasing 171, losing three early wickets. Wayne Parnell, given the responsibility of sharing the new ball with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, struck in his first over itself, trapping Manvinder Bisla in front with a peach of a delivery that swung back into the right-hander after pitching on full-length. Bisla looked to flick it towards mid-wicket, but failed to get bat on ball.
 
Parnell returned in the fourth over and castled the experienced Jacques Kallis to cap a woeful day in the field for the South African, who had leaked 48 runs with his fast-medium pace. KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir then played a loose shot off Ishwar Pandey’s bowling and holed straight to mid-off. At 29 for three in the fifth over, things weren’t looking good for KKR at all.

It was here that Yusuf and ten Doeschate came together and put KKR in pole position for victory. The duo paced their innings well and were on course for a match-winning century stand before total chaos intervened.

In the 16th over, ten Doeschate was run out before Manoj Tiwary went for needless heroics and holed out to long-on three balls later. In the next over, Yusuf was given out obstructing the field after the cameras caught him kicking the ball away from bowler Parnell while going for a quick run. Yusuf was livid as he walked back to the dugout, but the video evidence that was shown didn’t support his disappointment. Just like that, KKR slipped from 127 for two to 148 for six within the matter of two overs, and the target which seemed within touching distance a few minutes ago was snatched away from their grasps.

In the end, KKR fell short by eight runs, after being comfortably placed five overs back with 49 needed from the last 30 balls with seven wickets in hand. A “freak dismissal” was how Gambhir described it in the post-match presentation, before summing it up well for his team: “It has been the story of Kolkata this year.”

Earlier, Manish Pandey scored his first half-century of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) before captain Aaron Finch fell two runs short of his fourth of the season as the Pune Warriors India posted a competitive total of 170 for four against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

It’s been exactly a month to the day when Pune won their last match this season against the Chennai Super Kings, and their batsmen did a good job today of puting them in a good position to end their barren run.

After losing the toss and being put in to bat on a good surface, Finch and Robin Uthappa got Pune off to a flying start, reaching 39 in the first four overs. But the pair could not build it into a big partnership, as has been the norm this season more often than not.

Uthappa slapped a couple of sixes over deep mid-wicket and long-on and, as always, looked very promising. But his extravagance got the better of him against the wily spin of Sachithra Senanayake. It wasn’t the best of balls that claimed the wicket — pitched short and begging to be spanked over mid-wicket. Uthappa went for it, but completely missed the line and could only manage to chop it back onto his stumps.
 
Pune’s run-rate slipped down to around six an over after the wicket as Manish Pandey joined Finch in the middle. The duo took a few overs for their partnership to settle before giving the spectators behind long-on and deep mid-wicket some catching practice in overs 10 and 11, bowled by Jacques Kallis and Rajat Bhatia, where 32 runs were stolen.
 
Lakshmipathy Balaji then shattered the woodwork of Finch after the Australian went for a loose pull and missed the length of the ball. Another couple of quiet overs were to follow before Pandey hit Kallis for three consecutive boundaries to get PWI going again. The 23-year-old, who had scored the first century of the IPL back in 2008, then got to his seventh fifty of the tournament and first this season with a dapper cut over the in-field to the third-man fence in the 18th over of the innings, bowled by Balaji, of which Pune scored 18 runs.
 
Yuvraj Singh chipped in with a couple of sixes over his favourite deep midwicket-long on area as Pune reached a good total with 58 coming off the last five overs. Pandey was run out in the last over for 66 that came off 41 balls, including eight fours and a six.

Kallis was the most expensive of the KKR bowlers, leaking 48 runs in his four overs. Balaji was another one who crossed 40, while Senanayake was the pick of the lot with one for 22.

Brief scores:
 
Pune Warriors India 170 for 4 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 66, Aaron Finch 48; Sachithra Senanayake 1 for 22) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 163 for 7 in 20 overs (Yusuf Pathan 72, Ryan ten Doeschate 42; Wayne Parnell 3 for 34) by 7 runs.
 
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