Kolkata Knight Riders ended their IPL campaign on a high note, beating table-toppers Mumbai Indians by a convincing nine-wicket margin in the dead rubber at Eden Gardens on Monday.
Already out of the semifinal reckoning, the hosts put up a splendid all round show and finished in the sixth position with 14 points behind Delhi Daredevils.
Delhi also ended with 14 points but due to their better run-rate (+0.02) they finished one place above Kolkata (-0.34).
Exploiting the slow track, Kolkata restricted the new-look Mumbai Indians to 133 for eight and then overhauled the target with 2.3 overs to spare with Brendon McCullum (57 not out) and Sourav Ganguly (42) playing good knocks at top.
It is for the first time in their last six clashes that Kolkata have defeated Mumbai Indians.
Saurabh Tiwary’s sensible 37-ball 46 was cornerstone of Mumbai’s total as they made wholesome changes to their side, fielding five new players.
Murali Kartik (2/20) and Shane Bond (2/24) set up the win for Kolkata by their brilliant effort as they restricted Mumbai to their lowest score in this season.
Chasing a modest total, and playing under no pressure, McCullum and skipper Ganguly threw their bat at each and everything and produced the one of the best opening stands for their side in this season.
They rattled up 97 in 13.5 overs to lay the foundation for an easy win.
Ganguly’s 36-ball knock had four fours and two sixes and McCullum’s 56 ball innings was studded with eight fours.
Ganguly began the scoring by hammering a big six off spinner Ali and McCullum played some really exquisite drives off Ryan McLaren and Dilhara Fernando.
The Sri Lankan paceman was punished by Ganguly too as he was hit for a six and four by the former Indian captain.
Dwayne Bravo, who led the side as Sachin Tendulkar opted to rest, produced a chance to break the partnership but McLaren grassed Ganguly’s catch when he was on 22.
At half-way mark, Kolkata were comfortably placed at 72 for no loss but the partnership ended soon with the dismissal of Ganguly.
The local southpaw miscued one shot off R Satish and the ball landed in the hands of Bravo, who nearly messed it up with McLaren.
McCullum and David Hussey (20) then guided the team home comfortably.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians found the going tough after winning the toss as stroke-making was tough on the slow strip and the ball was not coming on to bat.
Ambati Rayudu played a good 27-run cameo down the order to take Mumbai Indians to a fighting total in the dead rubber.
Bond gave Kolkata Knight Riders a perfect start by removing both the openers of the table-toppers, who rested their five players including captain Sachin Tendulkar.
The New Zealander sent back Aditya Tare (1) and Shikhar Dhawan (10) in successive overs, reducing the opponents to 14 for two after they opted to bat.
Thereafter, Tiwary in company of JP Duminy began the repair work although it was difficult to score against Kartik and David Hussey.
From 29 for two in five overs, the left-handed duo added 40 runs in next five overs as Mumbai looked reached 69 for two at the half-way mark.
Young paceman Jaidev Unadkat broke the 63-run third wicket partnership when the left-armer castled Duminy (19) with Mumbai’s score reading 77 for three in 12.5 overs.
Tiwary followed suit two balls later, becoming Murali Kartik’s first victim as the youngster was caught by Brendon McCullum in the mid-wicket.
Tiwary’s knock had four fours and a six off rival skipper Sourav Ganguly and showed that he has the ability to adapt to conditions.
Wickets fell in quick succession after that with stand-in skipper Dwayne Bravo (5) also failing with the bat and it was Rayudu, who played a handy knock before running himself out to gave Mumbai bowlers something to fight for.