Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hassan backed up a superb bowling effort with a timely cameo to help Kolkata Knight Riders post their second back-to-back win with a five-wicket triumph over Rajasthan Royals in a thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) match here Friday.
Man of the match Shakib came up with commendable figures of 4-0-17-3 that helped restrict the Royals to 131/5 before hitting a quickfire 16 of 10 deliveries as the Kolkata Knight Riders won with four balls to spare in front of around 30,000 spectators at the Eden Gardens.
Replying to the Royals' 131/5 on a slow and dry track where run scoring was difficult, the Knight Riders reached 137/5 in 19.2 overs when Ryan ten Doeschate sent Ankeet Chvan out of the ground over the leg side.
It was revenge of sorts for the Knight Riders who had gone down to the Royals in their earlier meeting at Jaipur. For the Royals, it was their second straight defeat after victories in their first two matches.
For the hosts, skipper-opener Gautam Gambhir (11; 11 b, 2x4) started off well, hitting a couple of boundaries in the very first over, but departed after a horrible mix up with South African partner Jacques Kallis in the middle.
Manvinder Bisla (29; 29 b, 3x4) then put on 48 off 41 balls with Kallis to put the innings on track.
Kallis (31; 3x4) swept repeatedly, and drove and punched some in an effort to accelerate the tempo, but ultimately went out when he missed a sweep and was rapped in front of the wicket.
Bisla was then devoured in the deep, while the aggressive Manoj Tiwary (24; 18 b, 1x4, 1x6) was beaten by a slower one from Bradd Hogg. The Knight Riders were then 108/5, needing 24 runs off 21 balls, as the match seemed open.
However, Shakib's cameo (16; 10 b, 1x4, 1x6) eased the pressure, before Ryan ten Doeschate (7 not out) ended the game.
Earlier, electing to bat, the Royals' openers Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane made only a slow 23 in the first four overs before some lusty hitting saw the visitors off to 45 without loss after half a dozen overs.
But left arm spinner Shakib Al Hassan struck immediately with his maiden delivery. Rahane's (19; 16 b, 3x4) intended drive to one spinning away ended in an edge behind the wicket.
Ashok Menaria (1) then ventured out for a single after playing Yusuf Pathan to the leg side, but the bowler picked up and unsettled the wicket at the non striker's end with Menaria short of the crease.
The big wicket of Dravid (28, 27 b, 5x4) fell in the next over. The former Indian captain drove a tossed up Shakib delivery into the hands of Manoj Tiwary at short cover, and the Royals seemed in trouble at 49/3. Three wickets had fallen for four runs.
Shreevats Goswami (24; 22 b, 1x4, 1x6)and Owais Shah (31; 33 b, 3x4) prevented the collapse with a 59-run stand, even though boundaries were hard to come by. Goswami, desperate to break the shackles, lifted Rajat Bhatia for an overboundary in the 16th over, but his innings came to an end in the next over, as he miscued a sweep off Shakib (3/17) to mid wicket.
Shah was devoured by Sunil Narine in the penultimate over, but Brad Hodge (12 not out) and Johan Botha (6 not out) plundered 15 of the last.