Mumbai: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) kept their hopes of qualifying for the IPL play-offs on track with a comfortable seven-wicket victory over out-of-reckoning Pune Warriors at the D Y Patil Stadium here on Thursday.
The visitors first shackled the home team batsmen with their three-pronged spin attack and restricted the Warriors to a meagre 118 for seven and then reached the target by making 119 for three in 16.4 overs.
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Skipper Gautam Gambhir led the victory charge driving with elan in his fine, unbeaten innings of 54 in 46 balls with seven fours while Yusuf Pathan made a brisk 29 in 25 balls to guide the home team to a thumping victory. Manoj Tiwary made 24 in as many balls earlier.
Pathan, who also took two wickets, was declared the man of the match. The third wicket partnership of 64 runs in 8.1 overs between Gambhir and Pathan, who was out when two runs were needed for victory, laid low the Warriors’ lukewarm challenge.
It was the Knight Riders’ eighth victory in 13 games and boosted their tally to 16, the same as Mumbai Indians who have one extra game in hand. The Kolkata franchise would take on Mumbai in their concluding round robin tie on 22 May at home.
Chennai Super Kings (18) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (17) lead the points table while Kings XI Punjab, the only other team in contention, have 14 with one game in hand.
It was yet another pathetic batting display by the Warriors after they were invited to bat first by Knight Riders skipper Gambhir.
Captain Yuvraj Singh, who came in at number 6, made the top score of 24 in another spineless batting display by the Warriors who have one more game at hand against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday away from home to conclude their debut season.
Chasing the modest score of 118, the Knight Riders lost an early wicket in opener Sreevats Goswami who fell in the first over. But a first wicket stand of 46 runs between captain Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary (24 in 24 balls) set them off on the track.
Tiwary departed in the eighth over when the score read 53, chopping Bhuvaneswar Kumar on to his stumps. Gambhir and Pathan, who hit three fours and one six, then put on 64 runs to put their side on way to the modest target.
Pathan was especially harsh on the accurate Rahul Sharma and hit the leggie for three fours in two overs to maintain the desired run-rate. He also hooked Bhuvaneshwar Kumar for a six.