KKR Yusuf Pathan
KKR batsman Yusuf Pathan in a punishing mood against the Rajasthan Royals in their IPL 2013 gameRon Gaunt/IPL/SPORTZPICS

Kolkata Knight Riders needed a win, and with their backs to the walls, the defending IPL champions produced the perfect all-round game to pick up a comfortable eight-wicket victory over the high-flying Rajasthan Royals.

On a slow turner at the Eden Gardens, the KKR bowlers strangled the Royals batsmen to a sub-par 132 for six from their 20 overs, with Yusuf Pathan - yes no typo there - leading KKR past the target with ease with a 2.4 overs to spare.

KKR kept their hopes of sneaking into the playoffs alive with their fourth win in eleven matches, while the Royals stay third with six wins in ten games.

KKR got off to a solid start, as Gambhir and Manvinder Bisla began the chase on a sound note.

The KKR captain, though, could not make a proper impact, failing to make contact while going for an expansive drive off Shane Watson, with Dishant Yagnik doing brilliantly to whip off the bails to catch Gambhir (12, 14b, 1x4) out of the crease.

Bisla was also back in the hut a couple of overs later, top edging one to Rahane off Ankeet Chavan.

After that, KKR and the rest of the IPL witnessed a spectacle not seen for a while and almost forgotten - Pathan actually wielding the bat to good effect.

Pathan, who has been the shadow of a shadow of his former self in the past couple of years, produced a nice little innings of 49 (35b, 3x4, 3x6), his highest ever score for KKR, while combining for 78 runs as the home side took the game away from the Royals.

Pathan made sure the momentum never ceased in the KKR innings, with Kallis (33, 30b, 2x4, 1x6), as he always does, calmly scoring the ones and twos at the other end to guide the defending champions to an absolutely vital win.

Earlier, the Royals struggled to gain any kind of momentum on the slow turning pitch, as the KKR slow bowlers held sway.

Ajinkya Rahane and James Faulkner, sent up the order to try and pinch-hit, fell early with Sanju Samson and Shane Watson, just like the last game, yet again building the crucial partnership of the innings.

Rahane was the first KKR wicket, stumped by Manvinder Bisla off Sachitra Senanayake. The Faulkner experiment didn't quite work as Iqbal Abdulla snared the right-hander - a soft dismissal with Faulkner only hitting a mistimed drive straight to Gambhir at short point.

Then came the highest partnership of the innings, worth 44 between Watson and teenager Samson, who again impressed with the bat for the Royals.

The duo took the score from 27 for two to 71 in just under eleven overs, before Watson's sedate 35-ball 35-run (4x4) innings came to an end. The slowness of the pitch again came to the fore as Watson played early to a ball that just did not come on from Sunil Narine, with the Australian caught in front of the wicket.

The Royals needed someone to play a blinder on a difficult pitch, but it never quite materialised as Dishant Yagnik (10) followed suit soon after -- castled by Senanayake (two for 26).

Owais Shah and Samson threatened to catch fire with a nice little partnership, but the slow nature of the pitch won over in the end. Samson (40, 36b, 1x4, 2x6) first holed out to Jacques Kallis off Rajat Bhatia, while Kallis knocked down the leg stump of Shah (24, 22b, 2x4) in the final over.

Rahul Dravid came in to bat only at No. 8, following Shah's wicket, as the Royals could only manage 30 runs in the last five overs, leaving KKR with the perfect opportunity to end their losing run.