Knight Riders thrashed by Pathan blitzkrieg
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 21st May 2008
Kolkata Knight Riders had found themselves in a must win situation, but would have expected no favours from the Rajasthan Royals team, especially with Shane Warne’s previous tete-a-tete with Knight Riders’ skipper, Sourav Ganguly. Beside, a win for the Royals would have sealed their semi-final berth. Kolkata made the only change of the match, getting in Umar Gul in place of Shoaib Akhtar who was rested.
Rajasthan Royals won the toss and elected to field first on a typical Eden Gardens wicket that has not been playing too quick, thus causing shot making to become very difficult. Kolkata’s usual issue of not getting a good start in the tournament continued, Mohammad Hafeez losing his wicket to Munaf Patel early. Patel in fact bowled his heart out, and had a maiden over to start the proceedings. Ganguly and Butt added 33, but the run rate was pretty slow to start with. In fact, even with David Hussey at the crease, the Knight Riders failed to get off the block, and it was only the fall of his wicket – at 71/3 in 12 – that brought Debarata Das onto the crease and some relief for the team. Das smashed a 20-ball 31 that included a couple of huge sixes and a four, as he combined with Laxmi Ratan Shukla and W. Saha to prop the score up to almost the 150 mark. Sohail Tanvir snapped up three wickets in his 4 over spell for 26 runs, where Munaf got two.
In reply, Swapnil Asnodkar lost his wicket early, and in walked – to the shock of everyone – Sohail Tanvir! The master of juggling things around, Warne, tried to surprise the opponents by this move. However, Tanvir and Graeme Smith left in quick succession, spelling a little trouble for the Royals. Watson looked in a reasonable touch, but he tried to slog Ganguly once too often to be bowled, and at 69/4 in 10 overs, the Royals needed someone to bat out the rest of the overs. Instead, Yusuf Pathan joined Mohammad Kaif and took the attack to the opposition. His first 24 runs were all boundaries, and he ended with an unbeaten 48, off only 18 deliveries, ably supported by Mohammad Kaif, who scored 34. The Knight Riders had no answer to this Pathan attack and lost comfortably by six wickets and with almost four overs to spare.
Yusuf Pathan was undoubtedly the Man-of-the-Match for an innings that changed the complexion of the match and almost ensured that Kolkata would not feature in the semi-finals. Incidentally he had also taken a wicket.