Kolkata: Empty patches on the terraces, a rare sight at the Eden Gardens during IPL-8, had reflected the mood of Kolkata Knight Riders fans before yesterday’s match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
They were again singing their team’s praise as they melted into the night after an emphatic 35-run win. Having sent the home side in, the Sunrisers fell well short in their chase of a 168-run target.
Umesh Yadav provided a sensational start to the defence of what was at best a challenging total with a couple of wickets in the first over, knocking David Warner’s off-stump with a fiery one that left the left-hander and then having Naman Ojha play the wrong line to have his stumps disturbed.
Sunrisers never did recover from those jolts though Shikhar Dhawan did post a promise before perishing to a careless shot and Australian all-rounder Moises Henriques brought a belligerent 41 to the table. It came off just 33 deliveries and had a couple each of fours and sixes.
KKR were rendered a bowler short after Andre Russell hurt his left shoulder while fielding. The West Indian all-rounder had delivered just one over. He came back and bowled the last one, but with spinners Piyush Chawla, Brad Hogg and Johan Botha nicely tightening the noose in the middle overs, he wasn’t missed.
Earlier, the Knights couldn’t quite capitalise on the great start provided by Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir, the openers adding 57 in 38 deliveries before spin pegged them back. Sharmas Karn (2-29) and Bipul (1-23), delivering leg-spin and left-arm orthodox stuff, respectively, stemmed the flow of runs by the best method — grabbing wickets at regular intervals.
It was Yusuf Pathan's late cameo lifted Kolkata to a fighting 167 for seven after a middle-order collapse.
From 55 for no loss in the first six overs the hosts were reduced to 86 for three in 12 with the Sharma duo conceding just 52 runs among them in eight overs while taking the crucial wickets of Gambhir, Uthappa and Andre Russell (1). Left-arm spinner Bipul (1/23) also ran out Manish Pandey (33) as the Karnataka recruit once again failed to convert the start.
Pathan held fort and struck an unbeaten 30 off 19 balls to give the total respectability.
(With PTI inputs)
Kolkata Knight Riders: 167/7 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 33, Gautam Gambhir 31, Robin Uthappa 30, Yusuf Pathan 30; Karn Sharma 2/29, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/42)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 132/9 in 20 overs (Moises Henriques 41, Karn Sharma 32; Brad Hogg 2/17, Umesh Yadav 2/34).