Sourav Ganguly’s homecoming at the Eden Gardens ended in defeat for the former Indian captain but the home crowd went home happy after a late fightback by Pune Warriors fell short by seven runs in the IPL match.
Kolkata Knight Riders put up 150 for seven and as Pune Warriors slumped to 55 for five – Steve Smith adjudged leg-before despite an inside edge – Gautam Gambhir would not have envisaged the former Kolkata captain Ganguly to roll back the years and take his side close to a win. Ganguly (36), with Sri Lankan Angelo Mathews (35), put on 73 in just over nine overs to take Pune to within striking distance of the win.
However, a flurry of wickets, including that of Ganguly, left the visitors agonisingly short of the target. Marchant de Lange was the pick of the Kolkata bowlers, taking three for 34 off his four overs.
Earlier, Gambhir (56) and Brendan McCullum (42) smashed 113 runs for the opening wicket to lay the foundations of an imposing total. However, Mathews (two for 17) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (two for 26) halted the home side’s progress as the batsmen found it difficult to hit boundaries.
None of the batsmen that followed the openers scored more than 15 as Pune Warrrios went into the break with a sniff of a chance.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.