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Notching a record seventh consecutive 40-plus score in the IPL, Robin Uthappa (67 off 39 balls) helped the Kolkata Knight Riders register a massive eight-wicket win over the Chennai Super Kings at the Eden Gardens. The KKR opener gave his team a match-winning start in their chase of CSK’s 154-run total. And later, the home team’s cause was furthered by Shakib Al Hasan (46 off 21 balls), who ensured his team got over the line with 12 balls to spare.
Earlier, Gautam Gambhir won the toss and opted to field first. The KKR bowlers vindicated their skipper’s decision by bowling a great couple of overs up front. In fact, debutant Pat Cummins bowled a wicket-maiden to kick start his IPL career; the Australian pacer cleaned up Dwayne Smith (5) in the second over. However, Brendon McCullum, with support from Suresh Raina, launched a counterattack. Thanks to a couple of big hits, the duo managed to negate the early damage and added 35 runs in the powerplay and even brought up the CSK fifty in the eighth over.
But McCullum (28) fell prey to Sunil Narine in the 11th over. Raina and Faf du Plessis then carved out a 62-run partnership, which saw them take the CSK score past the 100-run mark in the 15th over. However, both batsmen departed in quick succession; first, du Plessis was run-out in the 17th over, and then, Chawla dismissed Raina (65), after he had scored an innings-steadying half-century. And then, despite MS Dhoni (21) and Ravindra Jadeja’s (9*) best efforts in the final few overs, the Super Kings could only tally 154 for four in 20 overs against a very disciplined KKR bowling attack.
In response, Robin Uthappa gave his team yet another big start. With Gautam Gambhir at the other end, the wicketkeeper-batsman scored the lion’s share of the 64-run first-wicket stand. Thanks to his efforts, KKR posted 52 runs in the powerplay itself. And while the home team lost Gambhir (21) in the seventh over, Uthappa kept chipping away at the target with routine boundaries – he struck a staggering 10 fours and one maximum during his 39-ball innings. He got out in the 12th over, off the bowling of Jadeja, with KKR’s score on 98.
But by the time Uthappa departed, his side was in the driver’s seat and they were helped over the line by the third-wicket pair of Manish Pandey (18*) and Shakib Al Hasan (46*). While the former played a great supporting role, Shakib stepped on the accelerator as he struck six fours and two sixes during his 21-ball blitz. He even struck the winning four at the end of the 18th over to take KKR to yet another big win in Pepsi IPL 2014.
As a result of this victory, KKR now have 14 points from 12 games and are trailing the Rajasthan Royals – who are currently placed third and have the same number of points – based on their net run-rate alone.
Man of the Match: Robin Uthappa for his match-winning half-century
Thanks to a seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad picked up all-important two points that will come in handy as the mid-table race for the Pepsi IPL 2014 Playoffs heats up. Thanks to half-centuries by their openers – Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner – SRH achieved the 161-run target with two overs to spare. Even their bowlers – led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar – did well to restrict the strong RCB line-up to 160 for six.
Earlier, Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first in Hyderabad. Bhuvneshwar Kumar then struck in the first over by trapping Parthiv Patel (4) leg-before. The SRH bowlers then pumped the breaks on the scoring-rate despite Chris Gayle and Kohli joining forces. In fact, Karn Sharma ended Gayle’s (14) 20-ball stay at the crease in the sixth over. And by the end of the powerplay, RCB had posted a pedestrian 25 for two.
And while Yuvraj Singh came in to bat with his skipper, the duo could not speed up the scoring rate right away. But they did accelerate once the team fifty came up in the 11th over; first, Yuvraj played a key role in plundering 12 off a Parvez Rasool over, and then, Kohli scored 19 in the next over, which was bowled by Karn Sharma. However, soon thereafter, Yuvraj holed out to Dale Steyn in the deep, off the bowling of Rasool, leaving RCB on 80 for three in 12.2 overs.
AB de Villiers then took guard opposite Kohli, and the pair soon brought up the RCB hundred in the 15th over. Meanwhile, Kohli also brought up his half-century, before he and his batting partner took Darren Sammy for 19 runs off his next over. However, Kohli’s (67) innings came to an end in the 18th over, when he handed Steyn a catch off Irfan Pathan. de Villiers (29) was soon cleaned up by Bhuvneshwar, leaving RCB on 146 for five in 18.1 overs. Sachin Rana (12*) and Mitchell Starc (6) then took the SRH total to 160, until the latter was run-out off the last ball of the innings.
SRH’s response started on a high note with Shikhar Dhawan taking charge of proceedings along with David Warner. They went after the RCB bowlers and brought up the SRH fifty in the sixth over itself, scoring a total of 51 runs in the powerplay. By the halfway stage, the first-wicket pair added 72 runs. Warner then struck three maximums during the span of the next two overs to put SRH in the driver’s seat. Dhawan (50) then reached his fifty in the 13th over – his first half-century of the season. However, the southpaw was run-out shortly after that, leaving SRH on 100 for one in 12.3 overs.
Naman Ojha then paired up with Warner, who brought up his half-century in the 15th over. Even Ojha went after the opposition bowlers by striking a maximum early in his innings. He added 26 runs with Warner (59), who was finally dismissed by Varun Aaron in the 17th over. Aaron Finch was the next man in for SRH with the run-chase equation reading 35 runs off 23 balls. Both Ojha and Finch (11*) kept the scorecard ticking, but were unable to launch much-needed big hits during the next couple of overs.
With two overs to go, SRH still needed 20 runs to scale the 161-run target. Ojha (24) then struck Aaron for a six, after the bowler conceded a couple of singles off the first two deliveries of the 19th over. And while the RCB pacer claimed his wicket off the next ball, Sammy – who walked in at No.5 – struck a first-ball six, followed by a single, to tilt the match in his team’s favour. With four runs required off the final over, Starc conceded a single off the first ball, and followed it up with a dot. But after the next delivery went for a single, Sammy (10*) took his team over the line – with two balls to spare – thanks to a double.
Both teams now have 10 points from 12 games and are currently separated only by their net run-rate on the points table, where RCB occupy the fifth and SRH the sixth spot.
Man of the Match: David Warner for his match-winning half-century