Kochi Tuskers continued their winning run defeating Kolkata Knight Riders by six runs at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday night.
Their third successive victory helped the Mahela Jayawardene-led side share the top position (with six points) along with the Knights and Mumbai Indians.
Kochi Tuskers successfully defended a modest total of 132 runs after KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first.
Even Jayawardene felt 130-140 runs would be a par score on the same track where the Royals were bowled out for 81 two days ago. Surprisingly, the KKR management who complained about the nature of the track after their victory in the previous match, opted to stick to the same pitch in spite of curator Prabir Mukherjee offering them a separate rectangle which had some grass on it.
The Tuskers played the right card picking up Muttiah Muralitharan in place of Thisara Perera. The legendary spinner did a star turn picking up one wicket giving away only 18 runs.
Except Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary, who perhaps knows this track best, none of the KKR batsmen could apply themselves on a track where stroke-making was difficult.
Tiwary single-handedly led the charge after the early dismissals of Jacques Kallis (6) and Gautam Gambhir (3). The Knights lost the battle when Tiwary fell for a well-made 46 (51 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) in the 17th over.
Yusuf Pathan, who earlier shone with the ball, bagging three for 20, failed to click with the bat leaving the lower order with an impossible job.
Defending a low score of 132, Kochi new ball bowlers RP Singh and R Vinay Kumar gave the team a perfect start removing both the inform batsmen Kallis and Gambhir to put pressure on the hosts straight from the word go.
Although the 34-run fourth wicket stand between Tiwary and Eoin Morgan raised some hopes, the Kochi spinners – Ravindra Jadeja, Ramesh Power and Muralitharan – put the brakes on KKR’s run flow and ultimately help script another memorable victory.