MUMBAI: A quickfire 32-run knock by captain Gautam Gambhir led Kolkata Knight Riders to a seven-wicket victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a late finish in the Indian Premier League (IPL) yesterday. With the win, the two-time champions made it to the second Qualifier against Mumbai Indians. Heavy showers coupled with strong winds had delayed the start of the second innings after Sunrisers Hyderabad posted a below par 128 for 7.
Right at the end of the first innings, it started drizzling and in no time it turned into heavy rain, delaying KKR’s response after skipper Gambhir won the toss and chose to bowl seeing the slow nature of the 22-yard strip. If there had been no play at all, Hyderabad would have gone through to Qualifier 2 on account of finishing higher on the points table in the league stage. But the rain stopped just in time, allowing for a six-over second inning, with Duckworth-Lewis method setting the target at 48.
However, it did not start well for KKR, as Chris Lynn, who had hit a six off the second ball, was controversially given out caught behind off the third ball of the innings. Chasing a Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivery, Lynn was adjudged to have edged ball on to the keeper, although the bat appeared to hit the ground. Bhuvneshwar then ran Yusuf Pathan out the very next ball for a golden duck. Robin Uthappa’s wicket made it 12 for 3 as he holed out to Dhawan on the square leg fence off Chris Jordan’s bowling. However, Gambhir then restored order with a 19-ball 32 (2 fours, 2 sixes) with Ishank Jaggi (5) too staying unbeaten. Earlier in the first innings, Gambhir was vindicated as his bowlers, led by fit-again Nathan Coulter-Nile (3 for 20) and Umesh Yadav (2 for 21), did the job for him.
None of the Hyderabad batsmen could score a half century, with skipper David Warner managing only 37 off 35 balls as the highest score of the innings. Coulter-Nile leaked just three runs from the penultimate over with Trent Boult (1 for 30) allowing just seven in the final over, also taking the wicket of Naman Ojha (16) off the final ball. Hyderabad got off to a sedate start, managing just 30 for 1 in the Powerplay. In-form Shikhar Dhawan (11; 13b; 1×4) skied a rising Umesh delivery for wicket-keeper Robin Uthappa to pouch the ball. Warner, who has been in red-hot form, found the fence just twice in the first six overs with Dhawan pulling Umesh for another boundary before falling to his India teammate couple of overs later.
It took the generally explosive Warner eight overs to hit the first six of the match, punishing a poor Piyush Chawla ball by rocking on to his backfoot and pulling the leg-spinner to deep midwicket. At the halfway stage, the defending champions were 61 for 1. With Shah Rukh Khan in attendance, the men in purple did well to put a lid on Hyderabad’s run flow. Umesh and Boult bowled brilliantly in the first 10 overs with the pair conceding 16 runs in three overs and 10 runs in two overs respectively. Coulter-Nile looked in good shape too, taking the wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (24; 26b; 2×4, 1×6) who hit a good length delivery outside off stump straight to Suryakumar Yadav – playing in place of injured Manish Pandey – at extra cover. In the next over, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla — drafted in for Colin de Grandhomme – scalped the priced wicket of Warner who saw his middle stump uprooted trying to pull a back of a length delivery. Yuvraj Singh (9; 9b; 2×4) struck two good looking boundaries but fell to Umesh’s guile, pulling a bouncer straight down the throat of Piyush at deep square leg.
With the ball not coming on to the bat, Hyderabad batsmen could never get going. Vijay Shankar and Naman Ojha eked out an expensive over from Boult taking the Kiwi pacer for 13 runs.
But Shankar was out soon with Coulter-Nile taking his wicket only to pull off a superb catch off his own bowling to sent Chris Jordan back in the hut for a golden duck. “We were 30 runs short. It was quite a tough wicket to bat on. The ball was holding up a bit. It’s been quite a disappointing wicket all season. And they bowled really well on it,” said David Warner. Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 128 for 7 in 20 overs (David Warner 37; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3 for 20, Umesh Yadav 2 for 21) lose to Kolkata Knight Riders 48 for 3 in 5.2 overs (Gautam Gambhir 32 not out) by seven wickets (Duckworth-Lewis method)