JAIPUR, April 15 (IANS): Unbeaten half centuries by skipper Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis powered Kolkata Knight Riders to a comfortable nine-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League here Friday.
Gambhir (75 off 44) and Kallis (80 off 65) scored 152 runs for the second wicket as Knight Riders chased down Royals' 159/4 in 20 overs with nine balls to spare.
Barring the initial hiccup of losing opener Manvinder Bisla (1) to a run out in the second over, the Knight Riders never faced any challenge from the Rajasthan bowlers, with both Gambhir and Kallis going for the kill on the slow pitch.
Gambhir came down heavily on the spinners, smacking 11 fours and a six during his innings. Kallis joined the party with seven fours and two sixes and also earned the orange cap for becoming the leading run-getter in the tournament.
Sent in, Rajasthan's total was propped by a 52-run second-wicket stand by Rahul Dravid (35) and Ashok Menaria (27) after losing opener Amit Paunikar (9) early in the fifth over. Al Hasan struck in his first over when he dismissed Paunikar to give Knight Riders the breakthrough.
Australian opener Shane Watson, who was playing his first match for Rajasthan Royals after notching up the world record for most sixes (15) in an ODI innings against Bangladesh, whacked two huge sixes in his 22 runs off 13 balls before Shakib Al Hasan (2-31) cut short his innings in the 17th over.
Yusuf Pathan removed Dravid and Menaria in the same over to peg back Knight Riders' after Royals negotiated the attack with ease.
Ross Taylor provided the late thrust hitting two sixes and two fours in the final overs during his quick-fire unbeaten 35 off 25 balls.