Hyderabad, May 11 (UNI) 'Prince' of Kolkata Saurav Ganguly led from front with a match winning allround performance as Kolkota Knight Riders (KKR) posted a 23 run win against Deccan Chargers in the return leg of the DLF Indian Premier League at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here tonight.
Ganguly's swashbucking 91 off 57 balls and his fantastic 102 run third wicket partnership in 48 balls with D J Hussey (57), helped KKR post an imposing 204 for four in the 20 overs.
Home team Deccan Chargers, despite a valiant unbeaten 71 by local lad Venugopala Rao, failed to break the jinx at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium as it ended its stipulated overs with 181 for seven.
The only consolation for the team was Rao getting the maximum sixers award hitting six sixes in his 42 ball knock, a shade ahead of Man of the Match Ganguly who blasted five sixes.
Ganguly who had not not made much impact in the earlier seven matches with the bat came good for the crucial game despite an initial setback with opener Salman Butt caught behind on the fourth ball of the day as Vaas moved the ball away a bit slower.
Ganguly, who was in the middle of the field from the fourth ball stamped the innings with defence and attack during his 80-minute stay with eleven boundaries and five sixes.
With 89 for one on the 13th over, Ganguly cut loose and along with D Hussey hammered the Chargers with a 102-run partnership which tilted the game. Particularly severe against local left-arm spinner Ojha, the duo hit 22 runs in an over. But Ganguly missed much-anticipated century as he failed to lob Vijaykumar over the mid-wicket and was caught by R P Singh almost near the fence.
Hussie picked up after Ganguly's departure, hammering R P Singh for two sixes and a four in the 18th over of the match on a pitch which lacked pace and outfield fast. Hussie's 57 off 29-balls with four boundaries and three sixes saw KKR past 200 and a comfortable total.
Deccan Chargers failed to keep up the momentum, losing Gibbs early and even Skipper Gilchrist who forced the pace, departed on the fifth over. Chargers lost another wicket in the next ball and were down 95 for five with Rohit Sharma giving Jinda his third wicket as he tried to play across to be caught by Ganguly at mid-wicket.
Vengopal Rao from the other end then took charge, with an unconquered 42 ball 71 run innings with four fours and six sixes.
But his effort fell short target.
The KKR which produced 115 runs in the last seven overs snatched away the match from the Deccan Chargers, despite a vociferous support from the 32,000 spectators from the stand.
This is the fourth win for the KKR from nine matches and sixth loss for Deccan Chargers who are still in the bottom of the table.
Eds: Pick up suitably from earlier series UNI DB/SM PS US2248