Pune, May 19: Pune Warriors slumped to their ninth defeat in a row after losing to Kolkata Knight Riders by a massive 34 runs in their IPL 5 clash at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.
With this huge win, Gambhir and Co have secured the second spot with 21 points. KKR will now take on Delhi Daredevils in the play-offs. Warriors end their campaign with just four wins in 16 games.
Warriors batsmen never got a grip on the slow track, losing wickets in regular intervals off KKR's brilliant spin attack, Ganguly and Co were crushed to 102/8 in 20 overs.
A 40-run stand for the second wicket between Jesse Ryder and Michael Clarke was the last hope for the Warriors. Besides Ryder's 24 runs none of the batsmen crossed the 20-run mark.
After the early dismissal of Robin Uthappa (8), Pune lost three crucial wickets in the space of 18 balls. KKR spinner Yusuf Pathan gave the breakthrough dismissing the Australian skipper Clarke (13). Pathan struck again claiming Ryder's wicket in his next over while all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan trapped Pune skipper Ganguly (5).
With the soaring run-rate, Anustup Majumdar (17) and Callum Ferguson (12) gave little hopes for Pune to reach anywhere near the low target. The pair added a slow 24 runs together before Shakib struck to break the partnership.
KKR spin sensation Sunil Narine struck later on to claim Harpreet Singh's (6) wicket while pacer Laxmipathy Balaji dismissed Wayne Parnell (3). Shakib was adjudged man of the match for his impressive knock and bowling figures of 18/2 in four overs.
Kolkata Knight Riders innings report:
Shakib and McCullum played key roles in the middle to push Kolkata to a decent total of 136/4. The pair added 67 runs at the rate of nine per over after a very slow start losing two crucial wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis.
The Bangladeshi all-rounder made a quick impact targeting Michael Clarke, Shakib managed to hit two sixes off Clarke to kick start the momentum and went on to score a quick 42 off 30 balls smashing three fours and a six while McCullum was steady at the other end hitting five fours with a 43-ball 41.
Kolkata started off steadily with Gambhir and McCullum, but during the 5th over, Gambhir (10) was caught while trying to hit over mid-on off Wayne Parnell.
South Africa veteran Kallis tried to build up their innings but difficult conditions forced them to score below five runs per over. Kallis was bowled out by Michael Clarke.
Pune Warriors pacer Parnell broke the growing partnership when McCullum was caught by Jesse Ryder. Parnell ended his spell with two wickets conceding 18 runs. Australia skipper Clarke claimed a wicket for 27 runs while pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar bowled out Shakib ending up with a wicket for 23 runs.
Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and opted to bat first against Pune Warriors in game 70 of IPL 5.
KKR have retained the same side while Pune Warriors have made two changes in their playing XI. Michael Clarke returns to the side replacing injured Steven Smith and Angelo Mathews is replaced by Ali Murtuza.
Warriors, having crashed out of IPL 5, play for pride while Kolkata Knight Riders would look to take advantage over Warriors and aim to finish at the top of the table.
Pune Warriors: Sourav Ganguly (Captain), Callum Ferguson, Ashish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa (wk), Anustup Majumdar, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Murali Karthik, Michael Clarke, Ali Murtuza
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Brendon McCullum (wicketkeeper), Yusuf Pathan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Laxmipathy Balaji, Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Iqbal Abdulla.
Umpires: Sudhir Asnani (India) and Billy Doctrove (West Indies)
Third umpire: Subrat Das (India)
Match referee: Graeme Labrooy (Sri Lanka)