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Gautam Gambhir's 44-ball 50 turned out to be vital for Kolkata in their win over hapless Pune. Lakruwan Wanniarachchi / AFP
Gautam Gambhir's 44-ball 50 turned out to be vital for Kolkata in their win over hapless Pune. Lakruwan Wanniarachchi / AFP

IPL: Sorry Pune Warriors cave in to Kolkata Knight Riders

Knight Riders record first road victory while Warriors drop their 11th in a row and remain in the basement of the IPL standings.

Kolkata 152-6 (20 ov)
Pune 106 (19.3 ov)

Toss Kolkata, chose to bat

Kolkata Gambhir 50, Doeschate 31; B Kumar 3-25, Marsh 2-7

Pune Mathews 40, Uthappa 31; Balaji 3-19, Narine 2-12

Man of the match Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Kolkata Knight Riders kept their play-off hopes, however slim, alive with a comfortable 46-run victory over Pune Warriors India at Subrata Roy Sahara stadium in Pune on Thursday night. It was their first victory on the road in the Indian Premier League and it consigned Pune to their eighth straight defeat since their win over Chennai Super Kings on April 15.

After opting to bat, Kolkata got off to a good start with Gautam Gambhir, the captain, leading the charge on a pitch he had earlier described as "unpredictable". His 44-ball 50 turned out to be vital.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mitchell Marsh were both among the wickets, claiming five between them, while Parveez Rasool, playing his first IPL match, returned commendable figures of 1 for 23 in four overs.

Given their start, though, Kolkata should have ended miles ahead of the 152 they eventually managed. However, Manvinder Bisla's dismissal changed the course of the innings. He swung and missed one off Bhuvneshwar and ended up being stumped.

Jacques Kallis did not last long, gifting an easy catch to short cover to become Rasool's only victim, and then Marsh had Eoin Morgan's number after a run-a-ball 15.

Things got worse when Gambhir, shortly after getting to his half-century, was caught at short midwicket off Marsh. With Yusuf Pathan not lasting long, it seemed Kolkata had nowhere to go at 97 for five. However, Ryan ten Doeschate and Manoj Tiwary, both returning to the side, and Rajat Bhatia made important contributions towards the end.

In response, Pune never quite got going. There was a bit of an incident when the TV umpire, Simon Taufel, overturned a run out with Kallis appearing to deflect Robin Uthappa's drive on to the stumps with Aaron Finch out of his crease. Kallis looked unhappy with the decision, but he had Finch bowled soon after and Pune never looked in the game from there on.

More wickets Yuvraj Singh, caught behind off a wonderful delivery from L Balaji, and Udit Birla, bowled by Iqbal Abdulla and a seeming lack of intent made it worse for Pune. In need of runs, Uthappa attempted to hit out and that eventually led to his dismissal when he cut Abdulla to Gambhir at point.

Angelo Mathews fought bravely with a 28-ball 40, which included four sixes. However, it was the only bit of fight from Pune, who were bowled out for 106.

Manoj Narayan is a subeditor at Wisden India.

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