Millennium Post

KKR restricted to 158/6 by CSK

Kolkata Knight Riders failed to capitalise on a 99-run opening partnership between captain Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum as they were restricted to 158 for six by Chennai Super Kings in their Indian Premier League match at Eden Gardens here today.

In-form Gambhir struck a 43-ball 62, his sixth half-century this season, with six fours and three sixes while McCullum hit 37 from 29 balls with the help of four fours and a six to give Knight Riders a spectacular start.

The duo put on 99 runs for the opening wicket but KKR could not capitalise on the superb start as the middle order failed to fire once again.

From 99 for no loss in the 12th over, the Knight Riders were reduced to 128 for five in the 18th over as Jacques Kallis (4), Manoj Tiwary (12) and Yusuf Pathan (11) failed to live up to the challenge as the two-time defending champions Chennai made their way back.

In their must win match, Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's gamble of inserting the Knight Riders in seemed to have backfired with the duo of Gambhir and McCullum putting on yet another fruitful opening partnership.

Their 99-partnership was KKR's second highest, behind 113 (vs Pune Warriors India) this season, something that put themselves in sight of a challenging total.

The Knight Riders were 86 for no loss after 10 overs but the remaining five overs proved quite fruitful for Chennai who made a stunning comeback, claiming two wickets for just 26 runs.

The opening duo made their intention loud and clear, taking charge of Chennai pace spearhead Ben Hilfenhaus.

Gambhir pulled Hilfenhaus over square leg while McCullum came down the track to hit him over mid-on in the same over to unsettle the Aussie's rhythm as his second over yielded 11 runs.

The left-handed skipper hit Shadab Jakati for a six and followed it up with a boundary as KKR raced to 50 for no loss in the sixth over.

Nothing went Chennai way as Jakati dropped a sitter from McCullum in the same over when the New Zealander was on 11.

Gambhir notched his sixth fifty of the season from 31 balls that included five fours and three sixes. Dhoni tried his best bringing in six bowlers midway into their innings but the KKR duo looked unstoppable.

McCullum also started firing from the other end hitting Raina for a six as things started to look ominous for Chennai.

The duo bettered their previous best stand of 95 (vs Royal Challengers Bangalore) but a rare mix up in the middle and a direct hit by Dhoni yielded the visitors the much-needed breakthrough in 11.3 overs.

McCullum had almost reached midway into the strip for a second run when Gambhir shouted a no and that cost the Kiwi's wicket.

Having conceded 17 runs from his first two overs, Jakati made a successful return in his second spell that yielded two wickets for nine with prized scalps of Kallis (4) and Gambhir to peg back the Knight Riders.

Pathan started explosively for a huge six over long-on but his run of woeful form continued as he mistimed a delivery in the very next over.
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