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You are here: Cricket CLT20 Kolkata Knight Riders squeeze out 2 run win against Auckland Aces

Kolkata Knight Riders squeeze out 2 run win against Auckland Aces

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The only Indian team in the qualifying rounds, the Kolkata Knight Riders, overcame a huge scare from the Kiwi domestic champions the Auckland Aces to beat them by two runs in a see-saw thriller in a Pool A qualifying fixture in Hyderabad on Monday night. The Knight Riders made a quick start, but some tight bowling and excellent fielding restricted them to just 121/6 in their 20 overs. Auckland looked to be running away with the match initially, with Lou Vincent leading their charge, but the slow bowlers of Kolkata came into their own on a typically dry subcontinental pitch and kept their team in the hunt till the very end. Auckland needed 11 to win in the final over and fell agonizingly short as Brett Lee did just enough to bowl his side to a crucial win.

Crowd favourites, Kolkata Knight Riders walked into the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad on monday night with high hopes of a win against the Kiwi champions, the Auckland Aces, on what looked like a belter of a track with plenty of runs on offer. KKR's interim captain Jacques Kallis called correctly and chose to bat first. The notable omission from their eleven was that of Lakshmipathy Balaji who gave way to an extra batsman in the form of young Sreevats Goswami. The Aces went in with a good all round side with Ronnie Hira preferred as the lone spinner while Daryll Tuffey missed out for left-arm seamer Michael Bates.

The Knight Riders got off to a rollicking start, as their openers, particularly Manvinder Bisla, took apart the one paced attack of the Aces, making good use of the fielding restrictions. At the end of first 6 overs, the Knight Riders were comfortably placed at 46 without loss with Bisla having raced off to 29 at a brisk pace and Kallis pacing himself to 15 in good time.

Having set themselves up well, both Kallis and Bisla consolidated meticulously through the middle overs, being severe on any loose deliveries on offer. The Punjab based wicket keeper batsman, Bisla, continued his onslaught on the Kiwi side unleashing a wide range of shots in his 45 off just 32 balls including two lovely inside-out shots over extra-cover off the spinner Ronnie Hira, before chipping a low full toss to cover off the bowling Micheal Bates.

The Knight Riders made an aggressive move by promoting the big hitting Yusuf Pathan up to number 3 with a view to give him some time in the middle before cutting loose. The move back fired as Pathan was clean bowled by Andre Adams after having made just 12 off 17 balls. With the scoring rate dipping alarmingly, Kallis too fell to a good catch in the deep in an attempt to up the ante after making a steady 33 off 35 balls. The Aces sensed an opportunity to get back into the game and took it with both hands, dismissing Tiwary and Ten Doeschate too in very quick time. Reeling with the score on 101 for 5 by virtue of losing 4 wickets in just 3 overs, it was up to Shakib Al Hasan and the tail to notch up a respectable total with just 4 overs remaining.

The Kiwi side continued to keep the squeeze on the KKR batsmen with some disciplined bowling and brilliant fielding. Their effort in the field was duly rewarded with 2 crucial run outs owing to direct hits from Jimmy Adams and Andre Adams. The late overs saw no major flourish from the Knight Riders tail, as they crawled to a paltry 121 for 6 in their allotted 20 overs. This dramatic slump in the late overs meant that the underdog Kiwi side gained the upper hand at the half way stage giving themselves a good chance to cause a major upset.

The Auckland Aces began their pursuit of 121 in the worst possible fashion, losing their star batsman Martin Guptill to a horrendous mix up off the very first ball of the innings. Lou Vincent, coming in at number three joined Jimmy Adams and ensured no further hiccups in the powerplay overs as the pair got past some anxious moments early on before breaking the shackles with some clever stroke play. Rookie left arm pacer Jaidev Unadkat took a beating in his very first over, with Lou Vincent clobbering 14 runs off it. At the end of the field restrictions, the Aces moved well ahead of the rate making 48 for 1 on the back of a quick fire 35 from Vincent.

With the Aces needing less than a run a ball off the remaining 12 overs, Manoj Tiwary produced an excellent piece of fielding to run out the well set Vincent after making 40 off 37 balls. That wicket opened up the flood gates for KKR as Yusuf struck twice in as many balls in the subsequent over leaving the Aces reeling at 63 for 4 in 9 overs. Rajat Bhatia then removed the Aces skipper Gareth Hopkins a few overs later, further reducing them to 77 for 5 in 13 overs. The Knight Riders then put the Aces on a tight leash for the next 3 overs holding them to just 14 runs to setup a tight finish.

Needing 9 runs per over off the last 3, Brett Lee produced a very good over conceding just 5 runs. Despite a big six from Andre Adams in the penultimate over, the Knight Riders managed to hold on to complete a closely contested win on a back of yet another superb final over from Brett Lee under pressure, owing to a capitulation of sorts from the Auckland Aces towards the back end of their chase.

The Knight Riders will attempt to seal qualification on Wednesday when they take on Somerset. In the meanwhile, Auckland meet the Sabres in a do or die encounter for them tomorrow. 

Teams:

Kolkata Knight Riders: J Kallis(capt), M Bisla (wk), S Goswami, M Tiwary, R Ten Doeschate, S Al Hasan, Y Pathan, R Bhatia, I Abdulla, Brett Lee, J Unadkat.

Auckland Aces: M Guptill, R Quiney, L Vincent, J Adams, C Munro, G Hopkins(capt&wk), A Adams, K Mills, D Tuffey, M Bates, Ronnie Hira, C Martin.

Mini Scorecard:

Kolkata Knight Riders 121/6 (20 overs, 6.05rpo)
M Bisla 45 (32) K Mills 2-24
J Kallis 33 (35) M Bates 1-13

Auckland Aces 119/6 (20 overs, 5.95rpo)
L Vincent 40 (37) Y Pathan 2-21
C Munro 20 (29) R Bhatia 1-14

Kolkata win by 2 runs

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