New Delhi: Kolkata Knight Riders celebrated Bengali New Year in style as they beat defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad by 17 runs at the Eden Gardens on Saturday. Robin Uthappa hit a lucky 68 before Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav put the brakes on the Hyderabad batsmen to help KKR stretch their domination over SRH at home to five games.
KKR’s score of 172/6 was considered a par-score by the pundits, but on a wicket that was gripping and slowing down, it was enough for KKR’s spin troika of Narine, Kuldeep and ‘surprise package’ Yusuf Pathan.
Interestingly, that was the only over Yusuf bowled as Gambhir then turned back to regular spinners Narine and Kuldeep. And Kuldeep started to trouble Warner as the flashlights in the crowd made it difficult for the Australian to read Kuldeep’s wrist.
In fact, Warner also missed the second ball of the over, but Uthappa missed a regular stumping to hand Warner (22) another life. But that didn’t help much as another tight over from Narine (five off the 9th over) saw Warner looking to once again take the attack to Kuldeep.
But Kuldeep was waiting for the false shot and it finally came off the fifth ball of the 10th over as Warner’s swing landed straight into Chris Woakes’ lap at long-off. With Warner (26) dismissed, the SRH chase wore a shaky look as Yuvraj Singh joined Moises Henriques in the middle.
The pressure of the scoreboard though got the better off Henriques in the very next over as Chris Woakes picked up a smart return catch off Henriques’ (13) bat. Yuvraj though kept on attacking even though KKR tightened the screws with every passing over.
Ben Cutting (15 off 10 balls) too tried his best to up the ante, but it was way too late in the day as SRH finally ended on 155/6 in their 20 overs.
Earlier, Hyderabad had won the toss and decided to bowl and Gambhir had no hesitation to come in to open with Sunil Narine again after the latter’s heroics in the previous game against KXIP.
But this time round, Bhuvneshwar Kumar sent Narine back in the third over as the West Indian played all over the in-swinging yorker. With Narine (6) gone, Uthappa joined Gambhir in the middle.
And it was the very first ball that Uthappa faced that he edged Bhuvi to Naman Ojha behind the stumps. But the umpire was unmoved and Uthappa did not bat an eyelid. The two started stitching a partnership when Warner turned to Rashid Khan in the 6th over.
Like in all the previous games, Rashid picked a wicket this time too off the first over as he this time dismissed Gambhir (15). Gambhir missed the straight one and went on the backfoot only to miss the ball and get bowled.
Uthappa rubbed salt into the wound by hitting Bipul for a huge six. The two batsmen went about their job with utmost ease before Uthappa got another life as he pulled Rashid Khan to deep mid-wicket where Dhawan dropped the catch and the ball went into the boundary ropes. That was the fifty.
The drama surrounding Uthappa wasn’t over yet. In the very next over, an attempted sweep saw the ball popping up and Ojha completing a brilliant catch. Even though the umpire gave the soft-signal as out, he went up for a review of the catch. And the third umpire gave it not out as repeated replays showed that the ball had ricocheted off the pad and not bat.
Uthappa celebrated the reprive with twin boundaries off Nehra. With both Uthappa and Manish going strong, Warner turned back to Cutting and he did the trick in the 15th over as he sent back Uthappa (68) caught by Rashid in the deep.
With the score reading 121/3, Yusuf joined Manish and the two looked to keep up the scoring rate and all was going well before Bhuvi finally got the wicket of Manish (46), caught by Warner as the Australian ran in from long-off.
Suryakumar Yadav (4) and Colid de Grandhomme’s (0) quick dismissals did stop the flow of runs in the death overs, but KKR’s score of 172/6 proved enough in the end.