Kolkata, Apr 20 : Ravindra Jadeja came up with a brilliant allround display to help the resurgent Kochi Tuskers Kerala halt Kolkata Knight Riders three-match winning run with a narrow six-run victory in a low-scoring Indian Premier League clash here today.
Jadeja was the star for the Kochi team as he scored 29 from 18 balls to help his team post 132 for seven and then scalped two wickets as the Tuskers restricted the Knight Riders to 126 for nine at the Eden gardens here.
Put into bat, Kochi had a flying start, thanks to the in-form pair of Brendon McCullum and Mahela Jayawardene but the Knight Riders restricted them to 132 for seven with a fine bowling effort by Yusuf Pathan (3/20) and Shakib-Al-Hasan (3/28).
Defending the total, the Tuskers bowlers Jadeja (2/25), Rudra Pratap Singh (2/25) did a tidy job and was supported well by their bowling colleagues as Kochi halted Kolkata's three-match winning run at the Eden Gardens here.
With 12 runs required from 26 balls, RP conceded 12 runs from his fourth and penultimate over of the match to bring the equation to 14 from the last one.But with R Vinay Kumar (1/21) bowling his slower deliveries accurately, it proved to be an uphill task in the end as the Tuskers notched their third straight victory.Tuskers now joins Mumbai Indians and the Knight Riders with six points each but the hosts retained the pole position by means of net run-rate.
Chasing a modest 133, Knight Riders needed to play sensible cricket but the hosts made a mess of the seemingly low score getting themselves out one by one.Three quick wickets from three overs—in the form of Jacques Kallis (6), Gautam Gambhir (3) and Manvinder Bisla (16) -- put Knight Riders in a spot of bother.
R Vinay Kumar, RP and Jadeja took one each as Knight Riders were 37/3 after the first powerplay.Knight Riders batting mainstay Kallis became victim of a Vinay Kumar short ball, while in a space of five balls Gambhir saw his middle stump shattered by his former India teammate RP Singh.
In the next over, Jadeja had Bisla castled to set the stage for the spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan to capitalise.Brought in place of Thisara Perera, Muralitharan returned with one wicket but he held the Knight Riders batsmen together giving away 18 runs from his four overs quota.
Just when the duo of Tiwary and Morgan were looking to set the platform, a fine fielding effort by skipper Mahela Jayawardene ran Morgan out to break their 36-run partnership from 38 balls.
However, undeterred Tiwary hit two fluent boundaries off RP but only to see Shakib getting bowled at the other end in the same over.Pathan, who hurt his knee while taking the catch of Jadeja, came in with a runner and the big-hitter showed his intention with a big six of Powar before being dismissed in the next ball, in what seemed to be a decisive blow for the Knight Riders.
Tiwary, who looked at ease all this while, was then outfoxed by a smart wide ball by Jadeja and was stumped.With Tiwary gone and Knight Riders at 101/7, it was just a formality for the Tuskers to complete the victory.
Earlier, Jadeja top-scored for the Tuskers with a nice cameo of 29 from 18 balls studded with three sixes and one boundary at Eden Gardens here.The Tuskers had a breezy start, thanks to McCullum who smashed Lee for two boundaries and one six for 15 runs in the third over.
Gambhir soon brought in the spin duo of Iqbal Abdulla and Shakib to put brakes on the run flow.There were some anxious moments but McCullum and Jaywardene continued their march as the duo ensured the team score 45 without any loss in the first powerplay.
McCullum raced to 23 from 19 balls hitting two boundaries and one six, while Jaywardene was equally elegant in his 25 off 27 balls (5x4).But their superb start was undone by Pathan who strangled the Tuskers with his slow off-spin and claimed three wickets giving away just 20 runs.From a blistering start of 49 for no loss, Tuskers were reduced to 65 for four in 30 balls to see their run-rate dip sharply.
Wickets continued to tumble for Kochi but Jadeja who came into bat after the dismissal of Parthiv Patel in the 12th over, looked unruffled and launched attack on the Knight Riders bowlers to see the side get past 100.
Earlier, the first breakthrough came in the form the dangerman, McCullum, who got a top-edge from a Shakib delivery for a soft dismissal.The skipper followed suit in what appeared to be a dubious lbw decision as Kochi slipped to 51 for two after eight overs to spread cheers in the home side's camp.Having scalped Jayawardene, Pathan bagged his second wicket in the form of Brad Hodge (2) when the Australian inside-edged a delivery onto his stumps.
Pathan then claimed the crucial wicket of Patel who was looking in fine nick with nine from 11 balls. The left-hander was caught plumb infront of wicket when he was trying to defend a Pathan delivery down the wrong line. PTI