Kolkata stay second

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The Kolkata Knight Riders resigned the Pune Warriors to a resounding 34-run defeat in Saturday's Indian Premier League fixture at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.

The Kolkata Knight Riders resigned the Pune Warriors to a resounding 34-run defeat in Saturday's Indian Premier League fixture at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.

The result ensured Kolkata finish second to the Delhi Daredevils in the nine-team standings – and thus avoid Tuesday's Eliminator clash. Pune, meanwhile, are left to rue their ninth consecutive defeat – a new tournament record.

The pitch was slow and the batting sluggish, with Kolkata's host of spin bowlers having the final say.

Brendon McCullum and Shakib Al Hasan had battled hard for their 42 and 41 respectively in a total of 136 for four after Knight Riders captain won the toss and opted to bat first. Pune employed as many as four seamers and, in hindsight, would like to have played another slow bowler instead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Ashish Nehra.

New Zealander McCullum and former Bangladesh captain Shakib's knocks were of particular importance in the wake of skipper Gautam Gambhir and the in-form Jacques Kallis' collective failure. The veteran duo managed just 23 runs between them.

137, despite its modesty, was always going to be a tough chase given the low, turning conditions.

Right on cue, the pedestrian Pune outfit – the competition's veritable whipping boys alongside the Deccan Chargers – coughed up a languid effort with the bat.

Jesse Ryder's 22 was their top score as spin quartet Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine and Iqbal Abdulla strangled the lifeblood from the pursuit. While all four were tellingly economical, Shakib and Pathan proved the chief wicket-takers with two scalps apiece.

The woeful Warriors managed just one four and two sixes in their total of 102, with their skipper Sourav Ganguly again failing to lead from the front by perishing for just five.

Al Hasan landed the Man of the Match award for his 41 with the bat and two for 18 with the ball.

While Kolkata and Delhi are guaranteed of graduation to the final four, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai will battle it out for the remaining two berths. The Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals and Deccan have already been ruled out of contention.

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