Millennium Post

KKR set 163 runs target for Delhi

Kolkata Knight Riders' top order batsmen failed to capitalise on good starts but a fiery 56-run stand between Yusuf Pathan and Laxmi Shukla lifted them to 162 for four against Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League Qualifier here today.

It was good fight between the two IPL heavyweights as Delhi bowlers struck regularly to almost make it look like a no-contest but Pathan's 21-ball 40 and Shukla's 24 off 11 balls gave Kolkata a fightable total on the board.

The top three KKR batsmen -- Gautam Gambhir (32), Brendon McCullum (31) and Jacques Kallis (30) batted well but could not convert the starts into big knocks.

KKR were 106 for four in 16 overs after electing to bat but Pathan and Shukla came out all guns blazing as they scored 56 runs in the last four overs.

Gambhir lead the side to a decent start as he smashed 32 off just 16 balls before a tragic run out ended his partnership with McCullum.

Things were not going Delhi's way as Gambhir continued with his red-hot form. He hit Umesh Yadav for a six in the second over and also hit Varun Aaron for a six and four.

However, a direct hit from Venugopal Rao, when Gambhir went explored a non-existent single, ended his knock.

It was Gambhir who was scoring fast as McCullum relied more on ones and twos. His stay at the crease was almost close to 10 overs but the Kiwi could find only two boundaries.

Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi was getting sharp turn from the pitch and he troubled both McCullum and Jacques Kallis. He bowled brilliant three overs initially and gave away 11 runs.

The only blemish was a six McCullum hit off him but the spinner had the last laugh as he got the Kiwi two balls later.

Kallis was meanwhile dropped by Pathan off his own bowling.

KKR suffered another blow when Pathan had Shakib Al Hasan caught behind. KKR were struggling as they were 99 for three in 15 overs. Their big hope was Kallis but the South African too departed when he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Yadav.

Yusuf Pathan lifted gloom by hitting Morne Morkel for a six and pushed the accelerator button. He also hit Yadav for a four and was getting good support from Laxmi Shukla.

Both of the them creamed Morkel for 15 runs and Varun Aaron for 21 runs in the last two overs. Pathan hammered Aaron for one six and two fours.
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