Fri, May 18, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Knight Riders beat Indians to virtually ensure playoff spot

AP and AFP, New Delhi and Mumbai, India

West Indies spinner Sunil Narine finished with 4-15 as the Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Mumbai Indians by 32 runs to virtually ensure an Indian Premier League playoff berth on Wednesday.

Narine took the important wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma, while South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis removed the dangerous West Indies pair of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith in successive deliveries as Kolkata bowled out Mumbai for 108 in 19.1 overs after having scored 140-7.

Kolkata are second behind the Delhi Daredevils in the standings with nine wins, five losses and a no-result, plus a healthy net run-rate of .478 that should be enough to advance. Mumbai are still in contention with nine wins and six losses.

Kolkata’s spinners were in control after Narine bowled Tendulkar for 27 with a ball that turned sharply to strike the batsman’s thigh and then the stumps. Narine removed Sharma for 12 and also accounted for Harbhajan Singh and Rudra Pratap Singh.

Earlier, the Kolkata innings was steadied by No. 4 batsman Manoj Tiwary’s knock of 41.

Mumbai left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh struck twice to reduce the visiting side to 6-2 in the second over, before Tiwary rescued his team. Singh struck with his second ball when he trapped opener Brendon McCullum leg before wicket and then he bowled Kallis with his next ball.

Tiwary hit two sixes and two fours in 43 deliveries, but failed to forge a big partnership. Opener Gautam Gambhir was the second-highest scorer with a 23-ball 27, while the big-hitting Yusuf Pathan played a relatively restrained knock of a run-a-ball 21.

Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab acting captain David Hussey defended his team’s integrity after two players from his side were suspended amid allegations of corruption.

Amit Yadav and Shalabh Srivastava, two of five players suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) following a television sting, are contracted to the Punjab team, but have not played in the ongoing tournament.

Reporters from Hindi--language India TV, posing as sports agents, recorded the low-profile players saying that spot-fixing and illegal money was prevalent in the IPL.

T.P. Sudhindra, Mohnish Mishra and Abhinav Bali were the other first-class cricketers suspended from the game on Tuesday by the BCCI until preliminary investigations are completed.

A probe is to be carried out by former police officer Ravi Sawani, who has previously served on the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

Indian Sports Minister Ajay Maken said: “Suspending five players is not enough. The BCCI should go into the root cause of the problem.”

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