KOLKATA, India: Captain Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum shared a decisive 113-run opening stand as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Pune Warriors by seven runs, Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab by 43 runs in the Indian Premier League yesterday.
Gambhir struck 56 and McCullum hit 42 as Kolkata set a competitive 150-5 in 20 overs after electing to bat at Eden Gardens.
Captain Sourav Ganguly (36) and allrounder Angelo Mathews (35) led the chase with a 73-run stand for the sixth wicket but Pune could manage only 143-8 in reply.
The Gambhir-McCullum partnership added 100 runs in only 10.2 overs but their dismissals in quick succession on a slower pitch allowed Pune to bounce back.
Gambhir smashed pace bowler Ashok Dinda for 22 runs off seven deliveries during his 36-ball innings which included two sixes and four boundaries.
Gambhir was caught by Mithun Manhas at long-off while trying to hoist a full toss from left-arm spinner Murali Kartik.
In the next over, New Zealander McCullum was trapped lbw by Sri Lanka allrounder Angelo Mathews while trying a paddle-sweep, but only after he had struck one six and five fours off 43 balls.
It was the fifth consecutive loss for Pune, which is second from bottom with four wins and eight losses. Kolkata is second in the nine-team league with seven wins, three defeats and a no-result.
At Mohali, Australia allrounder Shane Watson stood out from among a clutch of batting performances with a whirlwind 36 off 17 balls with two sixes and four fours as Rajasthan scored a challenging 177-6 after electing to bat.
He then produced a spell of 2-22, which included the wicket of in-form opener Mandeep Singh, as Punjab was restricted to 134-8.
Rajasthan and Punjab have five wins each from 11 games.
Delhi Daredevils lead the table with eight wins and two losses.
Kolkata Knight Riders 150-5 (Gautam Gambhir 56, Brendon McCullum 42; Angelo Mathews 2-17, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 2-26) def. Pune Warriors 143-8 (Sourav Ganguly 36, Angelo Mathews 35; Marchant de Lange 3-34).
Rajasthan Royals 177-6 (Rahul Dravid 46, Shane Watson 36, Brad Hodge 36, Ashok Menaria 34; Ryan Haris 4-34, Piyush Chawla 2-38) def. Kings XI Punjab 134-8 (Shaun Marsh 34; Shaun Tait 2-18, Johan Botha 2-21, Shane Watson 2-22).