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Kolkata Knight Riders ride high in the IPL opener

Kolkata Knight Riders will forget their gloomy past after an ecstatic win  begining of each of the against the defending champions. They stood hard after huge blows in the beginning of either of the innings. Veteran bowler Chaminda Vaas gave a classic start by clinching the wickets of Manoj Tiwary and Sourav Ganguly. And their batting was started with a quick fire of Gilchrist. But Deccan Chargers failed to capitalise their two starts.  

Credit completely goes to Angelo Mathews and Owais Shah who  took the Knight Riders from a devastating 31 for 4 to a fighting total of 161 for 4 with an unbeaten partnership of 130 runs for fourth wicket. Deccan looked strong during their chase as the openers Gilchrist and surprising opener VVS Laxman gave a blazing start of 61 runs before the batting powerplay ends. But Gilchrist’s 54 of 35 balls went in vain as the middle order failed to continue the momentum. Key players Gibbs, Symonds, Rohit Sharma getting out for playing loose shots.  

Things changed dramatically for Deccan from 99 for 1 of 11 overs to 128 for 5 of 16.2 overs. Gilchrist who had two survived because of two dropped catches went for a pull and was caught at deep mid-wicket by Brad Hodge. Gibbs was caught by Mathews at long on. Symonds fell to Ishant Sharma in 15th over as Symonds got a top-edge. Sharma pushed the team into deeper troubles as he was fooled by a slow bouncer by Mathews. With 34 required of 22 balls, with only Indian Domestic players and tail to follow, it was always going to be tight and Mathews, Laxmi Shukla, Langeveldt and Ishant completed the choke for Deccan with a good mix of yorkers, bouncers and slower ones.    

This is a well deserved victory for Knight Riders and equal credit for their skipper Ganguly. He cleverly changed the bowling that gave fruitful results for the team. After Gilchrists dismissal, he new that only fall of wickets could bring them victory and he brought back Murali Karthik, Ishant Sharma and Langeveldt as they picked the key wickets and thereby laid pressure on the tail.  

Knight Riders innings was quite contrasting to that of the former. Their top order collapsed as Vaas got some late swing in his bowling. Take a bow for the innings of Owais Shah and Angelo Mathews that took their team to a comfortable position after a trembling start. The double strike by Vaas in the first over remembered the Kolkata’s horrible last season. 

That was a classy start by Vaas, swinging late ,on the  offstump, remembering his swing of 90’s. He  got Manoj Tiwary for the  first ball of the innings who gave a dolly to Rohit Sharma at mid-wicket. He also sent skipper to the pavilion for a duck in the same over. Brad Hodge and Pujara too departed after a 31-run stand.  

Allrounder Angelo Mathews and Owais Shah brought sanity to KKR innings. Apart from ensuring that there was no further damage, they began rebuilding the innings. The talented allrounder Mathews began the only way he knows, taking the attack to the opposition. Shah, on the other end, kept the scoreboard ticking with smart singles. They batted cautiously to put a half-century partnership. Thereafter, they simply turned on the heat.
Vaas was creamed for 18 runs in the 17 over. First Shah tonked Vaas for a huge six to square leg, then followed it with a cracking boundary in the off side. Later in the over, Mathews hammered a six to the long off.
In the next over, Mathews welcomed slow-bowler T Suman with a massive six over mid-wicket. Shah joined the run feast by creaming Suman for a fine hit to the mid-wicekt fence. The over fetched 16 runs for the KKR.
The 19th over started with a scorching boundary to the long off and then a huge six to the long on by Mathews. But left-arm seamer RP Singh came back well to concede only three runs in the remaining four balls.
After Vaas was smashed for 18 runs, Gilchrist lobbed the ball to Jaskaran Singh to bowl the final over. He did well for he gave away just two runs in the first three balls but Shah picked him and deposited over square leg for a six. The final over fetched 11 runs for the KKR.

By: Ganta Rakesh

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