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Tiwary proves a point
Man of the Match Manoj Tiwary on way to his unbeaten 75 in Mohali, on Saturday

Chandigarh: It would be difficult for a team which plunders 19 in the first over and 21 in the last to lose a T20 game.

After a fortnight of being eclipsed, at home and away, in three matches, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) took advantage of those overs and steamrolled the Kings XI Punjab, in neighbouring Mohali, on Saturday.

Even Abhinav Bindra’s support didn’t work for the hosts and, chasing 184, they lost by 39 runs.

Being the two bottom-placed teams, it was a must-win scenario for both. Over No.1, from Brett Lee, set the tone for the night and the last, bowled by Irfan Pathan, confirmed that the Knights would grab the two points.

One team had the hunger and intensity; the other just wasn’t able to build on the moments which came their way, particularly in the middle stages of the Knights’ innings.

The respective captains, Sourav Ganguly and Kumar Sangakkara, had to lead from the front. While Sourav did, getting 50 off 40 balls (his first IPL fifty in 22 months), Sangakkara floundered.

Sourav’s last fifty had also been against the same opposition, at the Eden.

With good reasons, Sangakkara is regarded as a cerebral cricketer. At the PCA Stadium, though, he lost both the mental battle and the duel over the 22 yards.

Indeed, Sangakkara’s 30 came from as many as 27 deliveries. Others struggled as well. Yuvraj Singh (promoted to open) alone threatened to tear into the Knights’ bowling, but a memorable catch by MoM Manoj Tiwary ended his cameo.

Tiwary, of course, couldn’t do a thing wrong. Inconsistent performances saw him being dropped in the last game, against the Mumbai Indians, but he made a point on being recalled.

Delhi DareDevils, one learns, were only too happy to let Tiwary go. After two MoM awards, the Knights must be delighted with their ‘buy’.

So far, the Manish Pandeys and the Saurabh Tiwarys have been hogging much of the limelight in the non-stars’ category. Now, the Knights’ Tiwary is also very much there.

Sangakkara accepted that he (and Mahela Jayawardene) weren’t able to force the pace and that left the later batsmen with much to do.

“There’s just one way from here (bottom of the table) — up,” Sangakkara said, but his tone lacked conviction. Quite like his team’s performance in IPL III.

Sourav’s reaction was rather restrained. “Every point is vital... Anybody can beat anybody... Every team is dangerous... But, yes, this win is a step forward for us... I’d like the team to continue playing freely...”

The Knights effected five changes in the XI and most of those coming in did contribute.

“We’ve got the ingredients this year, it’s only a matter of the team gelling and things falling in place,” David Hussey told The Telegraph in the lead up to Saturday’s match.

The younger Hussey was spot-on, even if he would’ve liked to make a bigger contribution on the field.

Sourav and Co. travel to New Delhi on Sunday, for the DareDevils’ game a day later.

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