Kolkata: Sourav Ganguly struck his sixth Indian Premier League half-century and remained in the thick of things as Kolkata Knight Riders upstaged Delhi Daredevils by 14 runs to stay afloat in the race for a semifinal berth on Wednesday.
Cheered by a chockablock Eden Gardens crowd, the home side defended their total of 181 for three with gusto, restricting the Daredevils to 167 for eight for their sixth win in 10 outings.
The 99-run stand between Virender Sehwag (64) and Gautam Gambhir (47) was the bedrock of Daredevils’ chase, which wilted 14 runs short of their opponents’ total.
Earlier, Ganguly (56 off 46 balls) and Chris Gayle (40 off 21 balls) milked 94 runs in the first 10-odd overs to give the home side a perfect start before the Daredevils bowlers put a brake on the run rate.
Down the order, Angelo Mathews (46 off 28) and Manoj Tiwary (26) starred in a 70-run unbeaten stand in the final seven overs to help the Knight Riders post a respectable total.
The Daredevils wobbled early in their chase as Ashok Dinda, breathing fire, castled the explosive David Warner for a five-ball duck.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ skipper Sourav Ganguly plays a shot during the IPL3 match against Delhi Daredevils at Eden Garden in Kolkata on Wednesday. Swapan Mahapatra/PTI
Neither Sehwag nor Gambhir looked quite at ease initially but they were soon in their elements.
Sehwag’s cause was also helped by the two lives he got on 35 and 47 with Iqbal Abdulla and Wriddhiman Saha dropping him with Ajantha Mendis being the hapless bowlers on both occasions.
Gambhir singled out Angelow Mathews for special treatment, while Sehwag treated everyone with equal disdain.
The duo had milked 99 runs when Ganguly’s direct throw ended Gambhir’s 29-ball stay.
Mendis removed Paul Collingwood (2) soon but Sehwag kept dealing in fours and sixes before dragging an Ajit Agarkar delivery onto his stumps in the 15th over.
Ganguly was soon in the thick of things, taking a catch and ringing in bowling changes which clicked just when the team required them.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 181 for 3 in 20 overs.
Delhi Daredevils: 167 for 8 in 20 overs (Virender Sehwag 64, Gautam Gambhir 47; Ashok Dinda 2/21).