Earlier in the afternoon, SRH skipper David Warner, possibly influenced by a very good surface and a warm afternoon, decided his batsmen would have first use of the pitch. Though he earned a life early in the match, holing out to the fielder at midwicket of what was subsequently discovered to be a No Ball, Warner couldn’t make it count. Four balls after Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed in the third over, Warner too walked back to the dressing room after he didn’t pick a slower delivery from Umesh Yadav and spooned a catch to the man at cover.
At the half-way stage, SRH were 52 for 4. That’s when Eoin Morgan, who was promoted to number four, and Naman Ojha, batting at number six, showed a bit of aggression and attempted to put the pressure on the visitors. From over twelve onwards until the end of the innings, SRH added 87 runs in nine overs. Morgan, 17 from 24 balls at one stage, added 34 runs in the next 18 deliveries, before he perished in the penultimate over. The partnership between him and Ojha, who made 37 from 28 balls, was worth 67 and was chiefly responsible to take SRH to a respectable total.
On a pitch which was expected to assist the spinners, it was the KKR quick bowlers who did all the damage. Apart from the run out of Ashish Reddy, the remaining six wickets were shared by Morne Morkel (2-35), Umesh Yadav (3-28) and Andre Russell (1-19). The visitors made three changes to the team that lost to Mumbai Indians; Morkel, Shakib-al-Hasan and Narine (4-0-26-0), who was playing his first game since having his action cleared, replaced Brad Hogg (unwell), John Hastings (injured) and Colin Munro.
In the run-chase, KKR were clinical. The opening pair of Gambhir and Uthappa milked the bowlers early on, picking up a boundary almost every over in the first six apart from running the singles hard. Once the field restrictions were relaxed, the pair continued to pick up the ones regularly, apart from putting away the bad deliveries. After adding 50 runs in eight overs, the pair stretched their association further.
Both batsmen played some scintillating strokes; while Uthappa drove well down the ground, Gambhir was severe through the leg-side, punishing anything that was short, converting them to boundaries. The pair was separated in the 13th over when Uthappa played all around an Ashish Reddyleg-cutter and was trapped in front of the stumps; he made 38 from 34 balls and hit three boundaries and a six.
The move to send Russell at number three didn’t yield the desired results; the Jamaican, whose stumps were disturbed by a yorker from Mustafizur Rahman, only lasted five balls. But Gambhir and Manish Pandey (11 from 11 balls) saw the team past the finish line with ten balls to spare. Gambhir, who reached the 5000 T20 runs milestone, was adjudged for his unbeaten 90 (60 balls, 13 fours & 1 six).
For SRH, Mustafizur (1-29) was the pick of the bowlers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar too had a good outing, conceding only 29 runs in his four overs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 142-7 in 20.0 Overs (Eoin Morgan 51, Umesh Yadav 3-28, Morne Morkel 2-35) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 146-2 in 18.2 Overs (Gautam Gambhir 90*, Robin Uthappa 38) by 8 wickets.
Man of the Match: Gautam Gambhir, for his match-winning 90.