In what was a match cum race to the top of the points table, Kolkata Knight Riders thumped SunRisers Hyderabad by 17 runs. Having won the toss and electing to bowl, Hyderabad eventually did well to restrict the home team to 172-6. At one stage of the game, when Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey were dominating the bowling attack, anything in excess of 185 was within the bounds of possibility.
Kolkata Knight Riders rode on the batting on the duo from Karnataka. Uthappa (68), Pandey (46) and Yusuf Pathan 21* were the top run-scorers for the Knight Riders. It was still a commendable job from the KKR batsmen to post such a total against an attack which is perhaps the best in the tourney.
During the innings break, Robin Uthappa was quoted, ‘It (pitch) was slow. It was slightly drier than the previous game. It might get slightly better to bat on now. Hopefully, we will be able to defend it.’
SunRisers managed to score 45-0 in the powerplay. What literally did not work in their favour was the introduction of spinners into the bowling attack by Gautam Gambhir. His masterstroke of giving the ball to Yusuf Pathan drew first blood for his team. Shikhar Dhawan was the casualty of the ploy applied by Gambhir.
Kuldeep Yadav perhaps bowled one of his top spells in T20 cricket. He was the most important cog in the wheel for getting David Warner out. The amount of pressure that Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine put on Warner and Moises Henriques drifted the match in Knight Riders’ favour. In the nine overs that spinners bowled for the Knight Riders, only 43 runs were given and three crucial wickets in Dhawan, Warner and Hooda were taken.
Once Yuvraj Singh was dismissed, the visitors’ chances seemed very bleak. Eventually, SunRisers Hyderabad scored 155-6 in the allotted 20 overs. Bipul Sharma’s cameo at the end could not take them over the line but helped them in reducing the margin of the defeat.
Shahrukh Khan, owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, congratulated the team via a tweet post the victory.
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) April 15, 2017