Uthappa, spinners help KKR keep SRH in check

With Saturday’s win, KKR kept its record of beating SRH in all the five outings at this venue, intact.

Robin Uthappa celebrates his half-century.   -  PTI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) showed the right application in attacking with spin to beat the defending champion Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 17 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match here at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

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In wrapping up its third win from four matches, the two-time champion showed it possessed a better bowling attack as the holder failed to overhaul the target of 173 set by the former. With Saturday’s win, KKR kept its record of beating SRH in all the five outings at this venue, intact.

Sunrisers Hyderabad surrendered to the guile of off-spinner Sunil Narine, and the left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who gave KKR the crucial breaks while throttling the visitor’s run chase. Yusuf Pathan also bowled his off-spinners effectively in the only over he got and picked up the crucial wicket of the SRH opener Shikhar Dhawan, who looked dangerous in the company of his captain David Warner.

Dhawan and Warner had started constructing an apt reply against a moderate target set by the host, with a 46-run partnership for the opening stand, but lost its way thereafter as KKR captain introduced his spinners in the fifth over.

Pathan struck in the seventh over getting Dhawan (23) back before Warner (26) departed in the 10th over, mistiming a lofted drive off Kuldeep Yadav. At 59 for two in the 10th over, SRH seemed to have drawn huge arrears in the required run-rate from which it could never recover as the KKR bowling improved its grip on the visitor.

Yuvraj Singh, who scored a 16-ball 26 (2x4, 2x6) tried to salvage the situation but could not do much as he was picked up by Chris Woakes in the 15th over (with the visitor SRH score slumping to 112 for five).

The Sunrisers’ decision to field on winning the toss came good as Bhuvneswar Kumar’s in-swinging yorkers cuffed the Knight Riders’ efforts to score a big total. Sunil Narine, promoted to the opener’s slot in absence of Chris Lynn, was the first victim of Bhuvneswar’s classy bowling. The West Indian, who had scored an 18-ball 37 in the previous match against Kings XI Punjab, had no answer to Bhuvneswar’s in-swinging yorker which shattered the stumps to send the former back with just six runs in his kitty. Robin Uthappa could well have been back in the dugout with a duck in the next delivery off Bhuvneswar in the third over but umpire Anil Dandekar did not appear interested in the confident caught-behind appeal.

Gambhir, the owner of the orange cap being the top aggregator of runs currently, failed to find his touch this time surrendering to the accurate bowling of the Rashid Khan. The KKR captain was cleaned up by the Afghan leg-spinner as KKR slumped to 40 for two. Uthappa and Manish Pandey salvaged the situation for the host with a 77-run partnership (in 52 balls) for the third wicket.

Uthappa played a few nice shots on his way to a 39-ball 68 (5x4, 4x6) and was assisted ably by Manish, who scored 46 (35b, 3x4, 2x6) to ensure that the host reached 172 in the allotted 20 overs. Bhuvaneswar picked up three for 20 to retain the purple cap.