KKR eases to an eight-wicket win

Guided by skipper Gautam Gambhir’s unbeaten 60-ball 90, Kolkata Knight Riders recorded an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Sun Risers Hyderabad.

Gautam Gabhir steered KKR's chase with an unbeaten 90.   -  K. V. S. Giri

Guided by skipper Gautam Gambhir’s unbeaten 60-ball 90, Kolkata Knight Riders recorded an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium on Saturday night. Embellished with 13 fours and a big hit, the Kolkata captain’s domineering knock saw his side overhaul SRH’s 142 for six with 10 balls to spare.

A sound start to the chase was set up by Robin Uthappa, who picked the line and found the gaps. At run-a-ball, the opener combined well with his captain in taking down the SRH attack. Shuffling the bowlers and constantly changing their ends did little to contain the opening charge.

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Although Ashish Reddy made a breakthrough by sending back Uthappa, the brightest spot by far in the host’s scheme was Mustafizur Rahman. He was niggardly and nagged the batsmen with his accuracy. A bootlace bomb from the Bangladeshi paceman bamboozled Andre Russell completely, wrecking the West Indian’s woodwork.

SRH FAILED TO CAPITALISE ITS CHANCES

That David Warner chose to bat in 44 degrees Celsius at the start was not surprising. The host didn’t make the best use of its chances.

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Shikhar Dhawan walked on thin ice, trying to loft the ball. A slash at Morkel’s rising and seaming delivery ballooned behind the wicket but agile wicket-keeper Uthappa made a successful leap. Fellow opener Warner didn’t fare much better. His prod off Umesh Yadav was promptly picked up by S. K. Yadav, diving forward at short cover.

Eoin Morgan had initial hiccups against the spinners but once he was settled, he even reverse swept Piyush Chawla. Absolutely at home against them was Naman Ojha, who slog swept Sunil Narine into the gallery over mid wicket.

MORGAN-OJHA'S 67-RUN STAND

Their fifth wicket partnership prospered. Ojha dominated the strike though, his upper-cut off Morkel sailing into the stands over the third man signboards. Morgan revealed his own rope-clearing tricks, lofting Shakib Al Hasan over long off and Morkel over mid wicket. Ojha fell after trying to smack Morkel over long on where Russell popped the ball back into play and Chawla clutched the chance.

Soon after Morgan’s half century, he hoisted Umesh wide of long on, where he was held by Shakib Al Hasan. The Morgan-Ojha duet lasted a little over half an hour but was worth 67, restoring respectability to the home side, which faced 52 dot balls.