Interblogactic IPL Battle, the Kolkata Knight Riders. Obviously, the best result for me would have been the Mumbai Indians winning and KKR salvaging some points for economic bowling and best strike rate. Despite Gayle and Kartik, this was not to be - it was another insipid performance from KKR and their third loss on the trot. Also, MI beat KKR for the fifth time in five games. Not that I'm gloating or anything - I can't anyway, it would be pretty stupid as I'm partially supporting KKR.
The issue that I raised after the last match, was about Ganguly and his obvious loss of form. I also said that he would either move up or down the order, but more likely up - and he opened today. He managed an initial flurry of boundaries while McLaren was still looking for his line, but that period apart he just looked so out of it - judgement, timing, everything. KKR may have had an opening partnership of 70, but it came in 11 overs. To be fair, Gayle didn't exactly tee off either. MI had a great bowling strategy going today - they mainly fired it into the blockhole or bowled several slower balls. Consistently bowling yorkers is pretty hard to pull off, and MI had its share of strays in line and full tosses - but both Gayle and Ganguly failed to put said full tosses away.
KKR's sleep/autopilot mode continued until Ganguly's dismissal, which brought in Shah, who was all energetic and prepared to run quickly - this woke the Gaylestorm up and switched on the bosh-button. That late surge (too late, in fact) propelled KKR to 155, barely defendable on a flat pitch unless MI did a CSK.
That didn't happen, of course. Sachin brought his favourite gun along, and once Dhawan had biffed Bond for three fours in the first over, it was all a matter of time. That's no reason to stop watching, though - Sachin was still out there and went about dismantling the KKR bowlers one by one, being the most severe on I-shan't Sharma. All the bowlers served up tripe, with the notable exception of, once again, Murali Kartik, the unluckiest bowler in Indian cricket. His tournament economy is under 6, remarkably, and once again he bowled a great spell, picking up the very talented Saurabh Tiwary, who was batting well. The mode of dismissal - sharp catch by Ganguly. Clear your eyes and read that again, and then the next bit. Ganguly pulled off not one, but two fantastic catches today, the second of which was adjudged catch of the match. Or Karbonn Kamaal Katch (Catch?) of the match (do I get paid for that?). Otherwise Dada was mostly standing around looking sulky, true to his moniker.
Another fab piece of artistic batsmanship from the Little Master - these days he's just having fun, I reckon. He's just looking to piss off every bowler in the world before he goes out with a bang, IPL Trophy and World Cup in each hand.