Kolkata Knight Riders advanced into its first IPL final on thefifth attempt, defeating Delhi Daredevils by 18 runs in the playoffbefore a packed house at a neutral venue, the Subrata Roy SaharaStadium. After Yusuf Pathan (40 off 31 balls) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (24 off11) joined hands to help the side put up a fighting total, VirenderSehwag and team of big-hitters were derailed by the Kolkataspinners, managing only 144 for eight from 20 overs. Skipper Gautam Gambhir deployed the spinners smartly on a trackplaying true to reputation as a slow turner, and with LaxmipathiBalaji’s superb spell (2-0-11-1) up front, KKR remained a stepahead right through. Tweakers Sunil Narine (two for 24) and Iqbal Abdulla (one for 24)did what was expected of them while medium-pacers Jacques Kallis(two for 42) and Rajat Bhatia (one for 16) excelled in restrictiveroles.
Shakib al Hasan got lucky with an appeal for caught-behind againstWarner. Balaji lured Sehwag to his doom with an out-swinger, theattempted ‘upper cut’ ending in wicket-keeper BrendonMcCullum’s gloves. Naman Ojha and Mahela Jayawardene took up the task of recovery, andat 49 for two after six overs of Batting Powerplay, the chase wasback on. After Ojha’s departure for 29, Delhi’s gambit of promotingVenugopala Rao to milk the slow bowlers seemed to work. Just whenit appeared like Jayawardene would carry his team to victory,Abdulla struck, teasing the Lankan out of the crease, and McCullumhad an easystumping.
Pawan Negi vindicated a surprise promotion to No.4 and Venugopalakept his cool as the 15-over mark was negotiated with no moredamage and, at 109 for four, target remained within reach. Kallis kept testing Venugopala’s patience from one end andpresently reaped his reward. And, once Ross Taylor fell to a smartcatch by Abdulla on the fence, the match had decisively swungKolkata’s way. Sehwag banked on pace for early breakthrough after losing the toss;Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel and Varun Aaron sent downin one over each. Barrier Gates
Openers Gambhir and McCullum played their shotsas the Batting Powerplay yielded 48 runs. Gambhir’s imperious coverdrives and savage pulls were breathtaking. It was a sharp bit of fielding that led to Gambhir’s fall. A directhit from Venugopala caught the Kolkata skipper short, and Gambhirdeparted for 32 off 16 balls. Sehwag employed spin against Kallis; the South African’s troublesin tackling Negi’s third over may have made Daredevils realisetheir blunder in picking four pacers. China Folding Barrier Gate
After Kallis’s dismissal in the 17th over amidst a mad scramble forruns, Yusuf Pathan lashed a six off Morkel, and Laxmi Ratan Shuklaproved the pretty effective slogger at the death. Kolkata Knight Riders: B. McCullum c Warner b Negi 31 (36b, 2×4,1×6), G. Gambhir run out 32 (16b, 3×4, 2×6), J Kallis c Taylor bYadav 30 (33b, 3×4), Shakib-ul-Hasan c Ojha b Pathan 1 (3b), YusufPathan (not out) 40 (21b, 3×4, 2×6), L R Shukla (not out) 24 (11b,3×4, 1×6), Extras (w-2, lb-2) 4. Flap Barrier
Total (for four wkts in 20 overs)162. Fall of wkts: 1-48 (Gambhir), 2-87 (McCullum), 3-91 (Shakib), 4-106(Kallis). Delhi Daredevils bowling: Irfan Pathan 4-0-20-1, Yadav 4-0-37-1,Morkel 4-0-37-0, Aaron 4-0-48-0, Negi 4-0-18-1. Delhi Daredevils: D. Warner c McCullum b Shakib 7 (6b, 1×6), V.Sehwag c McCullum b Balaji 10 (7b, 1×4), N.
Ojha c Gambhir b Bhatia29 (28b, 4×4, 1×6), M. Jayawardene st McCullum b Abdulla 40 (33b,6×4), V. Rao c Bhatia b Kallis 13 (22b), P. Negi st McCullum bNarine 14 (11b, 2×4), R.
Taylor c Abdulla b Kallis 11 (8b, 1×6),Irfan Pathan (not out) 6 (3b, 1×4), M. Morkel c Bhatia b Morkel 0(1b), U. Yadav not out 1 (1b), Extras (b-4, lb-5,w-5) 14. Total(for eight wkts in 20 overs) 144.Fall of wkts: 1-24 (Warner), 2-24(Sehwag), 3-83 (Ojha), 4-108 (Jayawardene), 5-120 (Rao), 6-133(Taylor),7-142 (Negi), 8-142 (Morkel).
Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Balaji 2-0-11-1, Shakib 4-0-36-1,Kallis 4-0-24-2, Narine 4-0-24-2, Abdulla 4-0-24-1, Bhatia2-0-16-1. Man-of-the-match: Yusuf Pathan.