KKR march ahead
Sunil Narine's outstanding bowling figures of 3/26 helped Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) seal a 22-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) here on Sunday and march into the play-offs of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Sunrisers only managed 149/8 chasing a target of 172 runs. Shikhar Dhawan top scored for the visitors with a 30-ball 51 at the Eden Gardens. Besides Narine, Kuldeep Yadav picked up two crucial wickets for the home team.
In pursuit of KKR's 171/6, the Sunrisers had a strong start with David Warner and Dhawan smacking a few to the advertising boards. But just when it looked like it would be Warner's (18) day, off-spinner Narine disturbed his stumps. After the first six overs SRH were 48/1.
Dhawan and Naman Ojha then had a brisk partnership of 58 runs. The duo pounced upon anything loose and ran hard between the wickets. But Dhawan got out in the 12th over shortly after getting to his fifty. Ojha (15) too threw away his wicket soon after. Yuvraj Singh (19) too did not last long but before departing he lofted Kuldeep Yadav twice into the stands for two massive sixes.
Wickets fell in quick succession thereafter as SRH were reduced to 120/6 after 16 overs. They never recovered from the setback and eventually fell short by 22 runs.
Earlier, a 34-ball 52 not out from Yusuf Pathan propelled KKR to a challenging total.
Yusuf and Manish Pandey (48 off 30) forged a 87-run stand in just 8.1 overs to help Kolkata get to the score.
For Hyderabad, medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and spinner Deepak Hooda picked up two wickets each, while medium pacers Mustafizur Rahman and Barinder Sran took a wicket apiece.
Asked to bat, KKR got off to a flying start with Robin Uthappa playing some of his trademark cover drives. He first smashed Bhuvneshwar Kumar for three boundaries in the very first over and then smacked Barinder Sran for another. The men in purple were moving ahead at a steady pace but suddenly Uthappa tried to chip down the track and hit Sran. He only managed to top edge the delivery which landed safely in the palms of Kane Williamson.
With 48 on board after powerplay, Gambhir, who had slowly crawled his way to 16, tried to up the scoring rate with a chip over the top but failed to clear the man at long off.
Just when it looked like KKR would again struggle, Yusuf joined hands with Pandey.
The latter started off by sweeping leg-spinner Karn Sharma for two consecutive sixes and then Yusuf got into the act as well, imitating the same. The 14th over yielded 19 runs.
The onslaught continued for a little longer as KKR managed to amass 144 runs by the 16th but then Pandey fell.
Jason Holder (3) followed Pandey to the dug out and the wickets put a brake on the scoring rate. In the 18th and 19th over KKR only managed nine runs.
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