Manoj Tiwary and Sourav Ganguly hammered blistering half-centuries as Kolkata Knight Riders thumped Kings XI Punjab by 39 runs in their Indian Premier League match here on Saturday.
Electing to bat, the Knight Riders posted a competitive 183 for five, their highest score of the tournament, and then restricted Kings XI Punjab at 144 for six to snap their three-match losing streak.
Tiwary blasted a 47-ball 75 bejewelled with eight fours and two sixes, while Ganguly’s breezy 40-ball innings included six fours and one six.
Chasing 184 to win, Kings XI Punjab batsmen got starts but couldn’t materialise them into big score as they lost half of their side within 100 runs inside 15 overs.
Shane Bond and Ajit Agarkar picked up two wickets each, while Angelo Matthews and Chris Gayle scalped one apiece to contribute to their team’s win.
For Punjab, Yuvraj (24) opened the innings with Ravi Bopara (0) but a fiery Shane Bond delivery found the latter infront of wicket as the home team lost their first wicket in the first over.
Yuvraj, however, slammed two fours off Ashoke Dinda in the fourth over and later in the sixth over hit Ajit Agarkar for a four and six.
However, the euphoria was shortlived as the Mumbai pacer struck in the very next delivery to sent Yuvraj back into the hut. In pursuit of a six, Yuvraj miscued his shot as Tiwary picked up a brilliant catch at midwicket.
Agarkar struck again in his next over, removing Manvinder Bisla (22) as Kings XI Punjab were reduced to 54 for three in 7.3 overs.
Mahela Jayawardene (16) and Kumar Sangakkara (30) tried to steady the ship with a 38-ball stand but Angelo Mathews cleaned up the former in the 14th over and three balls later the skipper was also stumped by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha as Punjab slided to 98 for five.
Pathan (22) and Karan Goel (17) tried their heart out and played some brilliant shots but it was too little too late as the match slipped out of Punjab’s hands.
Earlier, Tiwary forged a crucial 79-run stand for the third wicket with Ganguly and later slammed two sixes and two fours in the last over to lift Kolkata Knight Riders from 45 for two to 183 for five.
Knight Riders were off to a rollicking start with opener Chris Gayle (14) clobbering three fours off Brett Lee as the Australian, playing his first match in IPL III, bleeded 19 runs in his first over.
Ganguly also didn’t lag behind and punished Irfan Pathan for consecutive fours in the second over to take Kolkata to 27 in two overs.
However, Shalabh Srivastava put the brakes on the score, getting rid of Gayle, who miscued a pull shot and Manvinder Bisla took a good catch at the boundary line.
Ganguly picked up a couple of fours more to keep the scoreboard ticking before newman Mandeep Singh popped one up straight to Lee at mid on to see his side reduce to 45 for two in five overs.
With Vikramjeet Malik and Piyush Chawla bowling in tandem, runs dried up for the Kolkata team and Ganguly and Manoj Tiwary had to depend on ones and twos to take KKR to 75 for two in 10 overs.
In the 11th over, Ganguly slammed the first six of the match when he sent Chawla out of the park and followed it up with a boundary at cover to step the gas.
Tiwary also joined the party and pulled Malik for a midwicket boundary, before picking up another four at cover to bring up the hundred for the Knight Riders.
Tiwary and Ganguly played some intelligent cricket to keep the momentum going and the latter brought up his half-century in the 14th over.
However, the left-handed skipper didn’t last long and was dismissed by Pathan in the 15th over. Chawla then cleaned up Newman David Hussey as suddenly KKR slided to 130 for four in 16 overs.
Tiwary reached his fifty in the next over and blasted two sixes and as many fours in the last over to swell the KKR innings in the end.