Quick downfall for Kolkata

SP

The ball pitched on middle, just smacking the back-of-length on its stitches and seamed in. That by itself should have been plenty for any batsman in the world to contend with, but the odd bounce was the last straw on Jacques Kallis's back. Fingers, actually.

Trying to nudge the ball away towards square on the leg side, fellow South African team-mate Morne Morkel's delivery rose oddly enough early in the chase of 161 against the Delhi Daredevils and crashed into Kallis' digits wrapped around the handle. The result? Retired hurt for zero. Off just his second ball, in just the second over.

Iqbal Abdullah, Kolkata Knight Riders' twelfth man who led Kallis out of the field, should have stayed on guard for the next KKR man in, Yusuf Pathan, who was nearly forced to exit immediately, thanks to another lethal delivery aimed at the upper torso. Pathan, who took the delivery on his right arm, wasn't rushed off the field like his IPL team-mate. But unfortunately for KKR, the damage had already been done.

While the extra bounce at the SuperSport Park in Centurion, which was to turn into an odd one that even stayed as low as ankle height soon after, was a major factor that did the defending IPL champions in on Saturday night from the second over onwards, it was their poor shot selection that lost them the match in the very first over itself. And for that, the blame must squarely lie on the shoulders of captain Gautam Gambhir, IPL V's final hero Manvinder Bisla and one of the best T20 batters in the world, Brendon McCullum.

All DD's Irfan Pathan had to do was run in and bowl. KKR's batsmen did the rest. In their attempt to overhaul Delhi's 160, Gambhir got out early, that has happened before, but in the most uncharacteristic way possible. This time around, it wasn't while attempting the nudge or the pull, but while trying to loft one over mid-on — against a delivery swinging away from him. He was caught by Kevin Pietersen at mid-on. KKR, 0/1 in 0.3.

... contd.

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