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Pune Warriors frustrate Knight Riders

RANCHI: The results in a couple of matches featuring other teams had certainly gone in Kolkata Knight Riders’ favor, but they failed to keep their side of the bargain, going down by seven runs against Pune Warriors India at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association stadium here yesterday.
Even Yusuf Pathan’s first half-century in three years in Kolkata colors wasn’t enough as they lost the crucial moments of the match.
Robin Uthappa, then Aaron Finch, and later in their innings, Manish Pandey and Yuvraj Singh all made it a super afternoon for Pune after they had been put in to bat. As a result, they ensured that if Kolkata wanted to keep their chances of making the playoffs alive, they would have to chase down a big total. Nine sixes and 11 fours were hit along the way as Kolkata, with more at stake, wilted in the Ranchi heat.
The most heartening aspect of Pune’s batting was Pandey, long considered one of India’s most talented young batsmen but one far too inconsistent. Till he was run out in the last over, Pandey played a wonderful hand. He hit eight fours and one six, holding the innings together f and then stepping on the gas toward the end before being dismissed for a 47-ball 66.
Throw in a 21-ball 25 from Uthappa, a 32-ball 48 from Finch and a 20-ball 30 from Yuvraj and Kolkata looked down for the count midway through the match. Sunil Narine and Sachithra Senanayake bowled their eight overs for a combined return of 1 for 48, but with none of the other bowlers pitching it right, Pune took 58 from then final five overs to take the total to 170 for 4.
The effect of that late surge showed on the Kolkata top order. By the fifth over, they had lost Manvinder Bisla, Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir – in that order – with just 29 on the board.
Kolkata, however, managed to stay in the game, and they did it through the much-criticized Pathan and the often-overlooked Ryan ten Doeschate. The two kept the fours and sixes coming even as they rotated the strike constantly. When the total crossed 100 in the 13th over, it was very much game on.
But then Doeschate was needlessly run out after a 30-ball 42 and Manoj Tiwary followed for a duck. And just when Pathan looked like he would take Kolkata past the finish line, he was dismissed in bizarre circumstances. Trying to steal a quick run, he kicked the ball out of onrushing bowler Wayne Parnell’s reach. His infringement was obvious, as was the fact that Parnell had tried to stop Pathan by grabbing at his arm. The decision went against Pathan: out obstructing the field for a 44-ball 72.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceding just four runs in the penultimate over, the game was as good as over, with Pune registering only their third win of the season. Kolkata’s defense of the title is over.