Cape Town: Kolkata Knight Riders produced a clinical performance in their concluding group league match as they comprehensively thrashed Titans by 99 runs in the Champions League Twenty20 here on Sunday.
Put into bat, KKR scored an imposing 188 for 5 in 20 overs and then shot Titans out for a paltry 89 in 16.4 overs. Although it was only a consolation victory for KKR, but their performance will certainly have a bearing on the group table where Delhi Daredevils now have a very bright chance of making it to the last four.
The Daredevils now lead the group table with 10 points from three games followed by Titans who are on eight points and the defeat also dented their net run-rate. From +2.450 it dipped to -0.017 and it can have a bearing on the semi-final line-up.
It was a match where the KKR batsmen finally found some form going their way having lost both their matches on bouncy and seaming tracks. After scoring 107 runs in the front 10, the Knights lost wickets at regular intervals yet managed to get 81 runs in the back 10 thanks to some fantastic late-order hitting by Debabrata Das.
The match was an inconsequential one for the IPL champions and their batsmen threw caution to the winds with an exhibition of some fine big hitting by the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Brendon McCullum and Debabrata. While Gambhir top scored with 44 off 36 balls, McCullum and Debabrata contributed 36 and 43 not out respectively.
A special mention for Debabrata, whose ferocious hitting in the final overs helped KKR reach the highest total in the tournament. The burly Debabrata scored 43 in only 19 balls with six boundaries and two sixes. The highlight was the power he generated in each of the shots as he added 55 runs along with Manoj Tiwary in only 4.3 overs.
It was started by Bisla who smashed his way to 27 off only 14 deliveries and in the process hit three fours and two identically pulled sixes off seamer Ethy Mbhalati before being holed out in the cover region. McCullum also batted with a 'Devil May care' attitude as he first pulled Alfonso Thomas for a six and then danced down the track to hit offie Eden Links for two huge sixes as 17 runs were taken from his first over.
Gambhir also got into the act as he hit three fours in one over from Mbhalati as the 50 partnership for second wicket came off only 25 balls. After a whirlwind 63 run partnership in little over five overs, McCullum departed as he was caught in the deep of the bowling of medium pacer Cornelius de Villiers. McCullum's 36 came off only 20 balls with three boundaries and three sixes. Once MCCullum was gone, KKR suddenly lost the momentum.
Jacques Kallis scratched his way to 18 off 20 balls while Gambhir also couldn't get the boundaries. Both were frustrated and were out trying to clear the boundary. Gambhir hit four boundaries and a six in his innings.
The chase was always going to be difficult and Lakshmipathy Balaji was the pick of the KKR bowlers as he grabbed 4 for 19 with none of the Titans batsmen looking settled. Only skipper Jacques Rudolph managed 25 off 24 balls but other batsmen were really off the boil. In the end, the performance came too late in the day when it was little value.