Durban: IPL winners Kolkata Knight Riders were on Wednesday knocked out of the ongoing Champions League Twenty20 after their must-win match against Perth Scorchers was called off due to incessant rain here.
The Knight Riders needed to win this match at any cost, having suffered reverses in their first two outings against Delhi Daredevils and Auckland Aces, but luck deserted Gautam Gambhir and his men on their most important day. In the process, they became the first team to be eliminated from the tournament proper.
A downpour followed by continues drizzle ensured the game ended 14 overs into the Scorchers innings - they were 91 for two at that stage. The Australian outfit was asked to bat first after the coin landed in Gambhir's favour at the Kingsmead.
Pace spearhead Brett Lee vindicated Gambhir's decision, removing the experienced Herschelle Gibbs in the very first over of the match. The South African got impatient a tad too early as he tried to loft one over the infield only to be caught by Iqbal Abdulla at covers.
After the early blow, Shaun Marsh and Simon Katich added 70 runs for the second wicket to put Scorchers in a much better position. Not only did they keep the scoreboard ticking by taking the singles and twos, the duo also managed to find the boundaries on a fairly regularly basis till Marsh was trapped in front by Jacques Kallis.
Kallis fired one in the block hole, Marsh missed it prompting the Knight Riders players to go up in appeal, which proved to be successful. Marsh hit three fours and a six but gobbled up 40 balls to score his runs. Experienced Katich was unbeaten on 43 off 32 balls while Mitchell Marsh was giving him company on five when play was halted.
Gambhir had invited Scorchers to take first strike keeping an eye on the overcast sky and while proceedings went on interrupted for a major part of the innings, the heavens did open up eventually. Knight Riders brought in Lee for Shakib Al Hasan and made up for the left-arm spinning allrounder's absence by including Abdulla. Debabrata Das came in for Rajat Bhatia.
Scorchers played Nathan Coulter-Nile in place of Ben Edmondson.