Kolkata Knight Riders made it two wins out of two at home this season after they defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by 17 runs at the Eden Gardens on Saturday evening. Having been put in to bat, KKR were piloted by Robin Uthappa’s half-century and Manish Pandey’s fluent 46, to 172-6. In the second half, KKR’s spinners strangled the visitors’ batsmen by choking the runs and helped build the pressure; none of the SRH batsmen made it past 26.
In the afternoon, KKR persisted with the opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and Sunil Narine, the pair that did plenty of damage in the previous match against Kings XI Punjab. Narine perished cheaply in the third over, but Gambhir carried on to firm up his position as the top run-getter of the season before he was outsmarted by the leg-spinner Rashid Khan. The Afghan bowler bowled pushed one through the air and breached past the defenses of Gambhir who played back attempting to cut.
Robin Uthappa was lucky to be given not out first ball; the Karnataka batsman opened the face of the bat attempting to run the ball to third man, but only managed a thick edge to the wicketkeeper which wasn’t spotted by the umpire. The KKR one-drop batsman then rode his luck and carried on to make 68 from 39 balls. Shortly after he had posted his half-century, Uthappa was given out caught behind; but when the Umpires referred to the TV Umpire to confirm if the catch was completed cleanly, it was established that the batsman had not hit it, and the original out decision was duly overturned.
Uthappa was associated in a 77-run partnership with state mate Manish Pandey. Pandey, who was let off when on 8 – when Naman Ojha missed a stumping opportunity – made an attractive 46 from 35 balls, which was studded with three crisp boundaries and two sixes.
Uthappa was dismissed in the fifteenth over when he miscued a Ben Cutting delivery and holed out to Rashid Khan at midwicket. Pandey perished in the eighteenth over when he attempted to hit Bhuvneshwar Kumar out of the ground, but found David Warner at long on.
For SRH, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the pick of the bowlers; he finished with sensational figures of 4-0-20-3. Narine, Pandey and Colin de Grandhomme were his three victims, and his spell included two tidy spells; his first spell figures read 2-0-7-1 and his spell at the back end read 2-0-13-2. Ashish Nehra, Rashid Khan and Moises Henriques were the other wicket-takers.
SRH began steadily with the opening pair of David Warner and ShikharDhawan(23) adding 46 runs in 6.4 overs when the latter hit Yusuf Pathan down the throat of long off. The KKR skipper used that opening to put the brakes on the scoring; between overs 8 and 12, KKR only conceded 33 runs and picked up two wickets – that of Warner (26 from 30 balls) and Henriques (13 from 10 balls).
Yuvraj Singh threatened with a couple of sweet hits.In the 13th over, he hit Umesh Yadav a for a six straight down the ground and held his pose, and then smacked one over the cover boundary in the 15th over. But the left-hander miscued one, while attempting to go over the top yet again in the same over, and picked the man at long on; Yuvraj was dismissed for 26 (16 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) and SRH had slipped to 112-5. Once Ben Cutting was dismissed in the 18th over, the odds of the rest of the SRH line-up scoring the required runs were improbable. SRH finished at 155-6.
For KKR, Woakes was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 2-49. But it was the spin trio of Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Narine, who helped build the pressure; the three spinners together returned figures of 9-0-43-3, an economy rate of 4.78.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 172-6 (Robin Uthappa 68, Manish Pandey 46, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-20) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad: 155-6 (David Warner 26, Yuvraj Singh 26, Chris Woakes 2-49) by 17 runs.
Man of the Match: Robin Uthappa