Gambhir won the toss and put Pune in to bat on a track which seemed like it would have a little movement early on.It was a poor start for the Pune team with Jesse Ryder throwing away his wicket with poor shot selection as Yusuf Pathan picked up the first wicket of the game. At the other end, a fearless start by Manish Pandey saw him despatch Brett Lee to the boundary on a few occasions as he raced off to a quick start. However, he quickly fell to a clever arm ball from Iqbal Abdulla who claimed his 15th scalp of the tournament. There was some entertainment in the middle as Sreevats Goswami let a ball bounce through, hoping it would hit the stumps while he could have easily caught it to get rid of Kolkata’s prodigal son, Saurav Ganguly. And Gambhir was quick to give him an earful, perhaps reminding him of how big a player Ganguly was. Callum Ferguson was soon back in the dugout after being beaten all ends up by a turner from Shakib Al Hasan. Uthappa nearly hauled out to a slower deliver from Rajat Bhatia, but Balaji misjudged the flight of the ball and ended up dropping a sitter. One magnificent six, dancing down the track is all Ganguly managed to deliver as his innings came to a tame end when he hit one in the air on the leg side off Shakib only for Yusuf Pathan to pouch it. Uthappa perished soon after, with a brilliant catch from Brett Lee on the boundary getting Pathan his second wicket of the match, leaving the Warriors languishing at 79 for 5. A couple of boundaries from Sachin Rana and good running between the wickets saw Pune stagger to 113 before losing Yuvraj Singh to Balaji, who curiously was bowling his first over as the last over of the innings. It was a clinical finish to the innings as Balaji uprooted Rana’s stump with a yorker as KKR went into the break on top, though an injury to Kallis being a big reason for concern.
KKR sent out Gautam Gambhir to open the batting for the first time and alongside him was Sreevats Goswami. It wasn’t quite the start they were looking for, as Goswami was caught behind, feeling for a delivery which was going across him towards the offside. There was time for some friendly laughs on the pitch as Callum Ferguson hit the stump on 2 consecutive occasions, once off the last delivery of Wayne Parnell and then off the first delivery of Alphonso Thomas with the ball bouncing off to the boundary on both occasions. There was further comedy as another effort from Callum Ferguson hit the stumps in the same over to make it 3 out of 3 for him, but not before Yuvraj was caught on camera praying that Ferguson wouldn’t have a shy at the stumps. Manoj Tiwary then smashed the last ball of the over for a six to enhance the Knight Riders’ good start. Tiwary managed to drag one from high and wide of off stump on to his stumps and had to depart. Jesse Ryder, walking over to send Tiwary off after their earlier spat, received a warning from Simon Taufel over his behaviour. Yusuf Pathan first found the boundary with a few cute cuts to the offside boundary before hitting a monstrous six later on. Saurav Ganguly was back in the spotlight for a bit with a nice running catch to dismiss Pathan with just two runs needed. The real star of the innings, however, was Gambhir as he displayed maturity as well as tenacity to remain unbeaten on 54 with 7 hits to the boundary to guide Kolkata to an easy win with 20 balls remaining.
This result puts Kolkata in third place and mounts pressure on the Mumbai Indians, who just might miss out on the play-offs to the Kings XI. Kolkata themselves aren’t mathematically safe and will be looking with interest at the Deccan Chargers vs Kings XI Punjab match coming up. They can, however, lay all concerns to rest by beating the Mumbai Indians and, on today’s performance, there is no reason to believe otherwise.