Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders bucked the trend of teams winning at the Eden Gardens while chasing by defeating defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad by 17 runs here on Saturday.
After two wins from whirlwind starts with the bat, this one was scripted by a combined bowling effort backed, finally, by efficient catching.
Yuvraj Singh’s counter-attack needed the kind of support Manish Pandey provided Robin Uthappa for the Knights. In the 13th over, Yuvraj hit a superb six over off Umesh Yadav and a four from a pull reminiscent of the ‘Nataraj’ shot Kapil Dev used to play.
However, his dismissal, caught by substitute Rishi Dhawan in the deep, was enough to give Hyderabad the blues.
SRH were ahead after the powerplay but KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir introduced Yusuf Pathan in the seventh over and he obliged with the wicket of opener Shikhar Dhawan, who had got an early reprieve when Chris Woakes failed to hold on to a stiff chance. For the second successive match, the bowler to suffer was Kiwi left-arm paceman, Trent Boult.
From there Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, and even Boult, who conceded only three runs in the 18th over after dismissing Ben Cutting the first ball, applied the choke. Woakes went for 49 but scalped Yuvraj and Moises Henriques.
Uthappa showed the kind of controlled aggression expected of a No 3 batsman in a T20 game, making 68 and taking KKR to 172/6 in 20 overs. Pandey hit a 35-ball 46 with three fours and two sixes.
It was enough despite the efforts of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who scalped Narine, Pandey and Colin de Grandhomme and was a lesson in accuracy and variety. But in a team packed with such quality bowlers that Mustafizur Rahman was dropped, he lacked support.
Uthappa’s 39-ball knock included five fours and four sixes and helped the Knights overcome an early wobble. Uthappa didn’t allow leg-spinner Rashid Khan to settle, sending him over mid-on for the innings’ first six and hitting at least one boundary in three of his overs.
Uthappa hit a six each in the ninth, 10th and 11th overs, the last one a half-sweep after stepping out to Henriques, typifying the improvisation central to T20 batting. Ashish Nehra thought he had Uthappa caught behind in the 13th over, but the ball had brushed his pad. Uthappa celebrated by hitting successive boundaries and Pandey ended that over with a four through extra cover.
Using his feet, Pandey attacked Bipul Sharma in the 16th over, hitting him for a six and four. A six and a four also happened in the next over from Ben Cutting, before Pandey fell to a slower one from Kumar.
Uthappa and Pandey, who survived an easy stumping off left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma in the 10th over, rebuilt the innings adding 77 in 52 balls to give KKR a fighting score. The bowlers then took over.
Kolkata Knight Riders - 172 for 6 (Uthappa 68, Pandey 46, Bhuvneshwar 3-20)
Sunrisers Hyderabad - 155 for 6 (Woakes 2-49)
Result - Kolkata Knight Riders won by 17 runs