Kolkata Knight Riders skipper scored an unbeaten 90 runs to see off his team against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Rajeev Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad. Chasing a below par score of 143 runs, KKR lost only two wickets and won the match by 8 wicket to get their second victory of this season.
Earlier in the day, Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner won the toss and elected to bat first. The decision to bat first is logical too when the temperature is above 44 degree. David Warner got an lucky escape when Morne Morkel’s foot crossed the white line and Warner was caught at short mid-wicket. But in his second over, Morkel dismissed out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan for 6. Skipper Warner also couldn’t last long and tried to manufacture shot from nowhere to be caught in covers by Suryakumar Yadav. The thing got worst when Henriques was trapped in front of the stumps on the last ball of the power play off Umesh Yadav. This has been the story for Hyderabad for last couple of seasons now that they are not able to stitch partnership in the middle order and this game also witnessed the same. They were reduced to 50 for 4 in the 10th over and things were looking dark for the home side. Then, Eoin Morgan and Naman Ojha joined hands to start the rescue job and played couple of over’s safely. After seeing off the condition, both batsmen looked to free their arm and in the process Naman Ojha hit Narine for a six to take his team to 94 at the end of 15th over. They completed 50 runs partnership in just 36 balls for the fifth wicket. Russell and Chawla combination at the boundary line ended the little cameo of Ojha. They added 67 runs to stretch the score to 142 runs and gave their bowlers something to ball.
But the score didn’t prove to be enough against the stable batting order of Kolkata Knight Riders. In the absence of Ashish Nehra, new ball bowlers did an excellent job to restrict the run flow but they were not able to give an early break though which Hyderabad deadly wanted. For going at about a run per ball for 8 overs, KKR openers changed their gear and punished the spinners and weaker bowlers of the team. Warner made too many changes in the bowling which didn’t help the cause of the team. Both batsmen settled in and accumulated runs at brisk rate. This kept the required rate always under control. Gautam Gambhir may not have played international Cricket recently but his shot over covers is still pleasing to the eyes. When Warner was running out of his troops, he threw the ball to Ashish Reddy who gave his a break though too and trapped Uthappa in-front of the stumps. In the next over, Mustafizur yorket uprooted the stumps of Russell. But this was too late for the home team . Gambhir hit two sixes off Mustafizur and sealed the game in the penultimate over off Karn Sharma. That’s how KKR won the game with more than 60 percent of runs for KKR came off Gambhir’s bat.
Man of the Match: Gautam Gambhir