Apr 262013

KOLKATA: Those who say Twenty20 is a young man’s game should learn a thing or two from Jacques Kallis.

The 37-year-old South African all-rounder, who twisted his knee in the last match against Mumbai Indians and was uncertain for Friday’s game, not only recovered in time but also made significant contributions in all aspects of the match to bring Kolkata Knight Riders back to winning ways.

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KKR beat Kings XI Punjab by six wickets at the Eden Gardens on Friday evening. The hosts, who had suffered three consecutive defeats before this game, badly needed this win to bring their campaign back on track and Kallis showed how to do that.

He drew first blood for them when he had in-form KXIP opener Mandeep Singh caught by Eoin Morgan at short mid-wicket after Adam Gilchrist won the toss and decided to bat first. Kallis finally emerged as the side’s most successful bowler, coming out with magical figures of 2-14 in his four overs.

Chasing 150 for victory, KKR suffered an early jolt when Azhar Mahmood castled skipper Gautam Gambhir and had Yusuf Pathan caught behind off successive deliveries in the second over of the innings.

It was Kallis again who came to the team’s rescue. In the company of Manvinder Bisla, who had replaced injured Manoj Tiwary, he steadied the ship as the duo build up a 66-run third-wicket stand in 9.1 overs.

Kallis used all his experience to apply himself on the slow Eden track, mixing cautious with aggression. By the time he was dismissed trying to play one delicately past the wicketkeeper only to be taken by Gilchrist, KKR were well on their way. Kallis fell for a well-made 37 off 33 balls.

The platform was then well utilised by in-form Eoin Morgan and Bisla to take the side home. The duo shared a 72-run third-wicket stand before Morgan fell for a fluent 42 (25b, 3×4, 4×6) just two runs before victory. Bisla remained unbeaten on 50 (43 b, 3×4, 3×6).

Earlier, an out-of-form Gilchrist got a run-a-ball 27 while opening with Mandeep. But it was sad to see Gilchrist, once feared all over the cricketing world for his explosive strokeplay, finding it difficult to time his strokes or even rotate the strike.

He preferred to play second fiddle to Mandeep who led the initial charge for the visitors. Gilchrist tried to accelerate after Mandeep’s departure but holed out to Morgan at deep mid-wicket boundary off Rajat Bhatia.

His departure saw Manan Vora breaking loose. The youngster hit Balaji for a huge six but perished to the very next delivery while going for another big one.

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