Kolkata Knight Riders sealed the second place in the points table with a crushing 34-run victory over Pune Warriors in their final group league encounter of the Indian Premier League here today.
Defending a small total of 136 on a difficult pitch, the KKR spinners restricted Warriors to a paltry 102 for eight in stipulated 20 overs.
While KKR with 21 points will get a maximum of two matches in the play-offs to qualify, the Warriors led by Sourav Ganguly hit a new low losing nine consecutive matches-- a record in the IPL. If Deccan Chargers manage to win the last match, the Warriors will finish last in the points table.
The Knight Riders' spinners did a commendable job as all of them shared the spoils. Shakib Al Hasan (2/28 & 42 runs) was man-of-the-match with his all-round show while Yusuf Pathan (2/12), Iqbal Abdulla (1/20), Sunil Narine (2/15) everyone chipped in with crucial wickets.
The ability to fight was simply not there in Warriors whose campaign was rocked primarily due to poor form of their skipper who had one of the worst strike-rates (less than 100) for a top-order batsman in T20 cricket.
The target of 137 wasn't big enough but the slowness of the track with some sharp turn definitely made things difficult for the home team whose confidence had already hit nadir. With two left-arm spinners and two off-spinners in the KKR line-up, it became a Herculean task for Warriors batsmen to negotiate.
Robin Uthappa's horrible IPL ended with a tame catch at covers of left-arm spinner Abdulla's bowling. Michael Clarke was stumped off Yusuf Pathan's bowling.
Jesse Ryder (22, 2x6) hit couple of huge sixes but tried a cross batted shot to an off-break to get bowled. The bowler was Pathan.