Kolkata: Sourav Ganguly hammered an unbeaten 75 to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in an IPL match on Satruday night at Kolkata.
Captain Ganguly played sheet anchor in KKR’s run chase of 133 as he carried his bat through the innings, hitting 11 fours and two sixes in 50 balls to help his side reach the target with 23 balls to spare in front of the home crowd at the Eden Gardens.
Chetshwar Pujara gave him able support with an unbeaten 38-ball 45 which was studded with five fours and a six as the duo shared run-a-ball 80-run partnership for the unfinished third wicket.
Ganguly hit the winning runs, a single, off Aaron Finch as the home side reached 133 for two in 16.1 overs.
Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shahrukh Khan along with his family cheering his team during the IPL T20 match against Rajasthan Royals at Eden Garden in Kolkata on Saturday night. Ashok Bhaumik/PTI
Earlier, electing to bat, Rajasthan Royals could make 132 for nine with Shane Watson top-scoring with a 26-ball 44.
After Saturday’s win, KKR still have an outside chance to qualify for the semifinals with 12 points from 13 matches and a net run rate of minus 0.456.
They still need to beat table toppers Mumbai Indians at the same venue on 19 April in their last league match to have any chance of qualifying for the semifinals.
With today’s loss, Rajasthan Royals ended their hopes of making it to the semifinals. They have 12 points after their last league match today.
KKR looked like they wanted to win the match in quick time to shore up their net run rate with Ganguly and his opening partner Brendon McCullum smashing 21 runs in first two overs.
Ganguly smashed two fours off Yusuf Pathan in the first over and then followed them with another off Shane Watson in the second over before KKR was pegged back by two quick wickets in a space of three balls in the third over bowled by Kamran Khan.
McCullum (6), who opened along with Ganguly instead of Chris Gayle, was the first to go as he offered a Kamran full toss for a simple catch to square leg fielder Shane Watson. Gayle followed McCullum two balls later for a duck to leave KKR at 22 for two.
The dismissal of two big hitters seemed to have boomeranged KKR plans for a quick win and Ganguly and next man in Cheteshwar Pujara retreated into a shell.
The duo ran mostly in singles and waited for loose balls as KKR 50 came in the ighth over.
By the halfway mark, the home side were 69 for two and two overs later Ganguly decided to open up his arms, smashing a four off Pathan and followed by a six off Adam Voges in the 13th over.
Kolkata Knight Riders
S Ganguly not out 75
B McCullum ct Shane Watson b Kamran Khan 6
Gayle b Kamran Khan 0
C Pujara not out 45
A Dinda - -
A Mathews - -
M Tiwary - -
M Kartik - -
L Shukla - -
S Bond - - -
J Unadkat - -
Total: 133 / 2 16.1 overs
S Watson b Laxmi Shukla 44
N Ojha ct Laxmi Shukla b Jaydev Unadkat 18
Y Pathan ct Sourav Ganguly b Jaydev Unadkat 8
A Finch b Shane Bond 21
A Voges ct Murali Kartik b Ashok Dinda 8
A Raut ct Chris Gayle b Jaydev Unadkat 2
P Dogra b Murali Kartik 8
F Fazal runout (Jaydev Unadkat / Brendon McCullum) 13
S Warne not out 3
S Trivedi ct Jaydev Unadkat b Ashok Dinda 4
K Khan not out 0 0 - -
Total: 132 / 9 20 overs