KKR wins rain-affected match

KKR restricted RPS to 103 for six as rain stopped play in 17.4 overs. On resumption, after nearly two-and-a-half hours, KKR had a revised target of 66 in nine overs. The home side achieved the target with four overs to spare to gather two crucial points and jump to the second spot.

Yusuf Pathan helped Kolkata Knight Riders knock off its target of 66 runs quickly.   -  Vivek Bendre

Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) rode on the collective success of its spinners and Yusuf Pathan's blitzkrieg to beat Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) by eight wickets through Duckworth-Lewis method in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.

KKR restricted RPS to 103 for six as rain stopped play in 17.4 overs. On resumption, after nearly two-and-a-half hours, KKR had a revised target of 66 in nine overs. The home side achieved the target with four overs to spare to gather two crucial points and jump to the second spot.

Even after losing the toss for the third time in a row, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir was delighted to see everything go according to his plans.

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Andre Russell again provided an early breakthrough by removing dangerman Ajinkya Rahane, who inside-edged a delivery on to his stumps in the third over.

Morne Morkel paid the price for bowling a little short but Shakib Al Hasan, coming in the fifth over, showed his excellent control and scalped the in-form Usman Khawaja (21) in his first over. Shakib's variation in flight and angle kept the RPS batsmen guessing and denied them any leeway.

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George Bailey (33 off 27), who played some excellent off-drives to the boundary and stepped out to lift Shakib for a straight six, combined with Saurabh Tiwary to build a 41-run stand and provide some optimism to RPS.

When RPS, at 63 for two in nine overs, looked at accelerating its run rate, KKR bowlers struck in quick succession to retard the visitor's progress. Ankit Rajpoot dismissed Saurabh Tiwary and Piyush Chawala bambozoled Bailey with his leg-spin.

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KKR enjoyed a fine display of spin bowling with Chawla and Narine (returning after a finger injury), bowling in tandem.

Chawla, who welcomed M.S. Dhoni by surrounding him with four fielders, relished his loop, dip and spin as he added Thisara Perera's wicket to his kitty. Narine, bowling wicket to wicket, was at his parsimonious best.

The spinning duo conceded only 33 runs in about eight overs as RPS lost three wickets during the period. RPS' precarious journey, highlighted by Dhoni's unusually slow batting, ended when rain stopped play.

KKR overcame the early jolt of losing its openers in the first over to Ravichandran Ashwin and romped home convincingly. Yusuf (37 off 18 balls), who hit Ashwin for two fours and as many sixes in one over, played a breezy knock to lead the host's run chase.

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