Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) buried the ghosts of last season to book a berth in the play-offs of IPL-9.
Kolkata Knight Riders spinner Sunil Narine (right) celebrates the wicket of Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner (left) with captain Gautam Gambhir at Eden Gardens in Kolkata yesterday. Pics/AFP
Coming into their last league match with qualification still a win away, the Knights stopped Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) 22 runs short of their total at a packed Eden Gardens yesterday, Sunil Narine (3-26) leading the job of choking the chase. Mumbai Indians are thus out of the tournament.
Put into bat, KKR managed 171-6, a total that looked vulnerable on a wicket where the ball was coming nicely on to the bat in the first half. SRH were on the money till Shikhar Dhawan fell for a 30-ball 51 in the 12th over, caught in the cow corner while going for his fourth six. The chase fell apart from there as wickets fell at regular intervals.
Gautam Gambhir had lost a crucial toss, the pressure to set a tough target soon manifesting itself in poor shot selections. After getting off to a rollicking start, KKR lost three wickets in the space of 24 runs, and it was left to Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan to put the ship back on an even keel with a 87-run partnership for the fourth wicket in 49 balls. Pandey hit a 30-ball 48 with two boundaries and three sixes while Man-of-the-Match Pathan remained unbeaten on a 34-ball 52 that had three boundaries and a couple of sixes.
KKR's Yusuf Pathan during his unbeaten 34-ball 52 yesterday
Robin Uthappa hit three boundaries in the opening over, and another one in the next, before a reckless shot had him skying a catch to backward point. New man Colin Munro, who had replaced Morne Morkel in the playing XI, skied off-spinner Deepak Hooda a couple of overs later. Gambhir departed in Hooda's next over, chipping straight to Moises Henriques at long-on. From 34 for no loss, KKR slumped to 57-3.
Pandey's wicket in the 16th over triggered another slide, and KKR couldn't get to the total they would have wanted. Gambhir injected a heavy dose of spin when the SRH reply began, initiating the defence with Yusuf Pathan and having Shakib Al Hasan and Narine too bowl within the power-play.
The destructive combo of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan was broken by Narine in the fourth over when he had the Aussie bowled a ball after being sent over long-on for a flat six. A 58-run partnership between Dhawan and Naman Ojha raised visions of victory but it was soon doused in regular dismissals. They were 149-8 when the overs ran out.