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Knight Riders stay in the hunt

Sunil Narine (centre) is congratulated after dismissing the dangerous Shane Watson (right).

Sunil Narine (centre) is congratulated after dismissing the dangerous Shane Watson (right).

KOLKATA – Kolkata Knight Riders kept themselves in the hunt for a spot in the last four of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013, with a convincing eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata today.

Knight Riders, after restricting Royals to just 132 on a slow wicket, chased down the target on the back of an unbroken 78-run partnership between Man-of-the-Match Yusuf Pathan and Jacques Kallis.Chasing a modest 133, Knight Riders’ openers Gautam Gambhir and Manvinder Bisla started positively. Bisla stepped down the track to Ankeet Chavan and launching him over the fence. Bisla then proceeded to hit Shane Watson for consecutive boundaries. Royals finally got their first breakthrough as Watson had Gambhir (12) stumped. Knight Riders made 48 from their power play.

Bisla (29) departed in the eighth over caught by Ajinkya Rahane off Chavan. Yusuf Pathan thumped Chavan for a massive six before Jacques Kallis followed it with a handsome hit for maximum off Brad Hogg. At the halfway stage, Knight Riders were 82 for 2, needing just 51 more runs.

Pathan continued his assault with a six off Stuart Binny before another massive one off Hogg. Kallis ticked the scoreboard over, while Pathan played his strokes and remained unbeaten on 49. Kallis sealed the run-chase with a boundary, helping his team go past the finish line with 16 balls to spare.Earlier Royals won the toss and elected to bat.

After a quiet couple of overs, Watson smashed Sumit Narwal for consecutive boundaries in the third over. Sachithra Senanayake outfoxed Rahane (6) to have him stumped. Iqbal Abdulla then struck having James Faulkner (1) caught by Gambhir. Royals made 34 from their power play. Sanju Vishwanadh pulled Abdulla for a six in the 9th over. Royals were 71 for one at the halfway stage.

West Indies Off-spinner Sunil Narine trapped Watson (35) leg before wicket before Senanayake got Dishant Yagnik (10) to chop one onto his stumps to leave Royals four down. Sanju continued to attack, depositing Senanayake over the fence. With the ball keeping low, boundaries were difficult to come by for Royals. Sanju (40), who was put down on 37 by Bisla off Narine, perished in the 18th over caught by Kallis off Rajat Bhatia. Kallis sent Owais Shah’s (24) leg stump flying in the final over as RR finished at 132 for 6.†

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