Captain Gautam Gambhir slammed a superb 93 to help the Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore while Kings XI Punjab beat the Chennai Super Kings by seven runs in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
Gambhir smashed five sixes and nine fours off 51 balls as Kolkata posted an intimidating 190-4 and then restricted Bangalore to 143-6 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
New Zealander Brendon McCullum (43) and South African Jacques Kallis (41) also came up with useful knocks for the home side.
For Bangalore, swashbuckling West Indies opener Chris Gayle waged a lone battle, bludgeoning 86 off 58 balls with six sixes and seven fours, but the team was never in the chase after Kallis removed Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers off successive deliveries in the sixth over.
Kolkata was second overall behind the Delhi Daredevils with five wins, three losses and a no-result from nine games. Bangalore has four wins, four losses and a no-result from nine games and was fourth.
At Chennai, Pakistan allrounder Azhar Mahmood struck vital blows with his accurate seam bowling in Punjab’s hard-fought win.
Mahmood shone with the ball in grabbing 3-25 after chipping in with a useful 18 runs as Punjab scored 156-8 and then restricted Chennai to 149-8 on a slow Chidambaram Stadium pitch.
Mahmood removed openers Faf du Plessis (29) and Subramaniam Badrinath (25) in successive overs and came back to dismiss the dangerous Albie Morkel in the final over to clinch the game for Punjab.
Mahmood’s effort was backed up by legspinner Piyush Chawla, who accounted for Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja to destabilize the mid-innings.
West Indies allrounder Dwayne Bravo, who bagged two wickets earlier, gave a glimmer of hope with a knock of 30, but holed out in the deep off Praveen Kumar.
Earlier, South African Morkel helped restrict Punjab despite a strong start by the visiting team.
Morkel took 3-29, including the important wickets of compatriot David Miller (19) and Australian David Hussey (7) as Punjab slipped from 127-2 in the 16th over.
Opener Mandeep Singh was the highest scorer with 56 off 50 balls with one six and five fours. Australian Shaun Marsh chipped in with a crisp 32 off 22 before he was run out, backing up too far as a straight drive from Singh went on to the stumps off Ashwin’s shoe.
Punjab was only above -bottom-place Deccan Chargers in the nine-team league, with four wins and five losses. Chennai was third, with four wins, four losses and an abandoned game.
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