It is shame that they (read as Kolkata Knight Riders) are out of competition. Riders started off their IPL campaign with a bang, courtesy brutal 150 plus from Kiwi McCullum. But lost the momentum mid-way thro' before slumping to lowest ever total (68 all out against Mumbai) and eventually out of contention.
It is sad that the two teams Kolkata and Bangalore despite having a right combo: lusty hitters, technically correct batters, quality bowlers et al still ended at the wrong side of the results consistently.
Sourav Chandidas Ganguly blasted an unbeaten 86 as Kolkata Knight Riders hunted down the daunting 175-run target with three wickets in hand and only two balls to spare.
Ganguly clobbered six sixes and as many boundaries in his 43-ball knock.
The stylish southpaw shared a quickfire 45 run stand for the opening wicket with Salman Butt (24 off 19) before the Pak left-hander was holed to Sreevastava off Sreesanth.
And then it was a procession of sorts for Kolkata batsmen as they came and went in whimper as Sree, Chawla and VRV ran amok.
At 106/6 in 16th over, the local outfit was gasping for a recovery and the well set Ganguly found a partner willing and capable to go for a leather hunt in Umar Gul. The lanky Pakistani announced his arrival with a two back-to-back sixes off Hopes. Gul continued doing so. In the meanwhile Ganguly smashed Chawla for 17 runs in the 17th over of the innings including two sixes.
The duo swung the momentum in favour of Kolkata with a rapidfire 49-run stand in just three overs. Gul trying to match the daunting ask was caught at long-off when he scooped a length ball off VRV straight into the hands of Powar.
Kolkata was 15 runs shy of victory in the final over bowled by Pathan. Ganguly whipped an incoming delivery short of length over deep square-leg fence and followed it up with a lofted drive over long-off boundary of the third ball in the meanwhile he took a brace in the second ball. Dada fended off a yorker length ball and scampered for a single and that's it...
Earlier run machine Kumar Sangakara (64) and Shaun Marsh (40) put up a rocksolid second wicket partnership of 83 runs in 57 balls to help Mohali post a healthy total.
Kings XI opting to bat first lost their first wicket in the shape of James Hopes (13) cheaply whenthe Aussie was rapped by Gul on backfoot in off and middle stump line
Stung by the initial setback, the Punjab team went all out with their two mercurial batters Sangakara and Shaun Marsh, who made merry on the relatively inexperienced Riders' bowling.
The left-hand duo put on 83 runs in just 57 balls.
Marsh notched up 40 in 31 balls with three fours and two sixes and Sangakara 45-ball innings yielded seven seven boundaries and two sixes.
After their departure Punjab wickets fell like ninepins.
Only captain Yuvraj Singh spared no pains to put his team in a commanding position scoring 27 runs. But, he was unfortunately run out, when Riders keeper Wriddhaman Saha's direct throw hit the stumps.
Riders speedster Umar Gul's late burst put a brake on the Punjab's progress and the Pakistani returned with a fabulous figure of four wickets conceding 23 runs in the stipulated four overs.