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Ganguly goes ballistic as KKR vanquish Chargers

April 2, 2010

Ageing warhorse Sourav Ganguly played a blistering 54-ball 88 as Kolkata Knight Riders moved up to the fifth slot with a 24-run victory over Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League here Thursday.

The Hyderabad-based Chargers, needing to score at a challenging asking rate of 9.1 per over to overhaul the Knight Riders’ total of 181/6, could manage only 157/5 as they saw their runs drying up towards the end before 45,000 delirious fans at the Eden Gardens.

Cruising comfortably at 77/1 in the ninth over, with Harschelle Gibbs (50) and Manish Mishra (29 of 16 balls) calling the shots, the tourists saw their plans go haywire as both fell to soft dismissals. Mishra threw away his wicket by spooning a catch to Manoj Tiwary at long on.

Gibbs, looking solid, tried to dispatch Shane Bond over long off, and finished in the hands of David Hussey close to the fence in the 15th over. The Chargers, then 121/3, could manage only 34 runs in the remaining 5.4 overs. This was in sharp contrast to the KKR innings, where 65 runs came off the last five.

A lot depended on Andrew Symonds (45 not out of 37 balls), but he found it hard to push up the run rate on the slowing track.

Earlier, playing one of his best innings in Twenty20 cricket, skipper Ganguly led from the front, clearing the field almost at his sweet will. Nine boundaries and five audacious sixes were indicators of the way India’s most successful captain dominated the bowlers on the sluggish strip.

Ganguly sparkled from the start, hitting the very first delivery for a boundary, and followed up with a cut to the point fence two balls later.

The KKR however lost wickets at the other end. Chris Gayle (4) tried a needless lofted shot, Cheteshwar Pujara (17) managed a leading edge to mid off and Tiwary dragged the ball onto his stumps as the hosts struggled at 68/3 in the ninth over.

Hussey (31 off 27 deliveries) then joined Ganguly and the duo added 78 runs in 8.3 overs to put their side in command.

Ganguly was particularly severe on Pragyan Ojha in the 17th over as he plundered 21 runs including three sixes before perishing while attempting the fourth of the last ball.

Though Angelo Mathews and Hussey departed, the KKR succeeded in retaining the momentum till the end.

Jaskaran Singh, Andrew Symonds and Pragyan Ojha picked up two wickets each for the Deccan Chargers.

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