Kolkata, May 5: Sunil Narine's magical spell scripted yet another thrilling seven-run victory for Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders over Sourav Ganguly's Pune Warriors as the visitors slumped to their fifth consecutive loss in IPL 5.
Chasing 151 to win, Pune Warriors were off to a shaky start, losing five wickets for 55 runs off 9 overs, but Angelo Mathews' three sixes off the 15th over and his 27 ball 35 knock raised hopes but wasn't enough as the team fell short by 8 runs.
Angelo Mathews played a vital role as he scored 35 off just 27 balls which included 3 huge hits to the stands, while Sourav Ganguly (36) also played an important knock in front of his homecrowd to help Warriors come close to the target.
The duo added 73 runs (9.2 overs) for the sixth wicket which proved vital as the team was on the verge of facing another defeat by the end of Warriors' 9th over.
Steve Smith (14), Robin Uthappa (17), Manish Pandey (17), Michael Clarke and M Manhas scored just one run as Warriors were in trouble with the top order back in the pavillion and almost 100 runs to score in order to end losing streak. But Ganguly and Mathews' effort was futile as they fell short by 8 runs.
With 22 needed from 12 balls, this became the 18th match to go on to the wire, as IPL 5 has already witnessed 17 close finishes so far. Ganguly's wicket off Bhatia's 18th over as that led to yet another close finish as Parnell also followed in the 19th over.
After raising hopes, Pune Warriors failed to score 22 runs off 12 balls as Angelo Mathews and Ganguly's wickets during the last few overs sealed the result in KKR's favour. Narine was awarded the man of the match for his magical spell of 1/13 off 4 overs.
Kolkata Knight Riders' Innings Report: Pune Warriors' bowlers restrict Kolkata Knight Riders to 150/5 in 20 overs, to make a strong comeback after the opening pair threatened to post a score over 180 after the first ten overs.
As it looked like Kolkata will dominate and Pune will lose another one to make it 5 in a row, things changed for Sourav Ganguly & Co. as Murali Karthik got the first breakthrough by dismissing Gautam Gambhir for 56 in the 13th over.
Gambhir and McCullum added 98 runs off 60 balls marking their third fifty partnership in IPL 5. Skipper Gambhir's magnificent fifty came off 30 balls, which included 4 boundaries and 2 sixes.
Suddenly everything fell into place, as Ganguly's decisions got rewards as they restricted Kolkata Knight Riders to 148/5 in 20 overs.
They lost 4 wickets for 28 runs within 7 overs. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was impressive as he picked two wickets for 26 runs off 4 overs while Angelo Mathews' magical spell of 2/17 off 4 overs turned the match in Pune's favour as they could cut down on the run-flow. With 151 to win, Pune Warriors need good partnerships from the top order.
Pune Warriors India: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Murali Kartik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mithun Manhas, Ashish Nehra, Wayne Parnell, Steve Smith, Robin Uthappa (wk), Michael Clarke, Ashok Dinda, Manish Pandey
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Brendon McCullum (wicketkeeper), Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Iqbal Abdulla, Marchant de Lange
Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Shahvir Tarapore (India)
Third Umpire: SS Shamsuddin (India)
Match Referee: Javagal Srinath (India)