Gambhir to the fore for Kolkata again

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The Kolkata Knight Riders closed the gap at the top of the 2012 Indian Premier League standings to just one point after trumping the Chennai Super Kings by five wickets.

The Kolkata Knight Riders closed the gap at the top of the 2012 Indian Premier League standings to just one point after trumping the Chennai Super Kings by five wickets in Monday's clash at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk.

Captain Gautam Gambhir, who last week weighed in with a fine knock of 93 to down the Royal Challengers Bangalore, again led from the front. His cool, calm and calculated half-century rendered a potentially tough chase a relative canter.

Super Kings skipper Mahendra Dhoni's choice to bat first after winning the toss didn't go according to plan. A cosmopolitan visiting attack restricted the hosts to a modest 139 for five – some 20 runs short of what the pitch dictated.

South African seamer Jacques Kallis proved economical and took two wickets, Australian fast bowler Brett Lee clinched the key scalp of the in-form Faf du Plessis and West Indian spinner Sunil Narine was responsible for the late dismissal of Ravindra Jadeja.

Suresh Raina's cameo of 44 was as good as it got. Dhoni, meanwhile, afforded the innings some brief impetus en route to 34 not out. The home captain, though, new full well that his side were kept entirely in check by a sound, all-round performance from the visitors' bowling.

The Knight Riders' chase didn't enjoy the fluid start they would have hoped for. Brendon McCullum, another star in the win over Bangalore, perished for just two as spinner Ravichandran Ashwin struck early on a track that was more conducive to spin than the fast bowlers.

Gambhir, though, ensured a steady progression from Kolkata and was supported in complementary fashion by Jacques Kallis' 26 and Manoj Tiwary's 13.

His eventual departure for a superb 63 from 52 balls, six fours and a solitary six included, proved all too late for Chennai. Yusuf Pathan's 12 and a telling 11 not out from Debrabrata Das sealed the deal with two balls to spare. Kolkata's triumph was far more formidable than the scorecard, for its seesaw numbers, suggested.

Saturday's result saw Kolkata move to 13 points, one shy of the Delhi Daredevils at the helm of the nine-team table, while fourth-placed Chennai remained on nine.

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