Former champion reaches target in just 14.2 overs to finish second

Yusuf Pathan rekindled a long-forgotten form and fired up a superlative performance that helped Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets with 5.4 overs to spare in a IPL-7 match at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Yusuf, who earned two ‘lives’, played like a man possessed to score 72 in just 22 balls that included seven sixes and five boundaries.

The incredible run-chase ensured the second spot in the league standings for the Knight Riders, who now stay back at home to play Qualifier 1 against Kings XI Punjab on May 27.

Given the challenge to overhaul a target of 161 in 15.2 overs to realise the second spot and nudge past Chennai Super Kings on net run rate, KKR realised the task riding on the Yusuf’s pyrotechnics.

The host, in fact, completed the task in 14.2 overs to achieve its seventh win on the trot.

Earlier, Sunrisers’ batting goliath David Warner being outdone by the pace and control of Morne Morkel in the very first over seemed to jolt the visitor’s aspirations after being asked to take first strike.

Morkel spewed fire by generating raw pace that surprised the opposition.

The South African pacer later drew some arrears in terms of consistency, as he later wavered in his length, and offered too many extras conceding 19 runs in his first two overs.

But his 146.1 kmph delivery in his third and the KKR’s fifth over seemed to draw home the momentum that his team looked to maintain.

Dhawan sparkles

Sunrisers benefited from the initial inconsistency of the host’s bowling as Warner’s opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (29) took over the responsibility of scoring the runs.

The brawny left-hander, who cracked a series of boundaries and set the pace to the Sunrisers’ innings, was involved in a 64-run partnership for second wicket with Naman Ojha (26).

After Dhawan and Ojha departed, Sunrisers’ captain Darren Sammy (29), dropped by Yusuf Pathan at long on when on 0, utilised the ‘life” to pull the innings through.

He figured in two partnerships of 32 runs and 28 runs with Venugopala Rao (27) and Jason Holder (16) to give respectability to the visitor’s total.

The KKR batting suffered some initial hiccups as the top order, including the run machine Robin Uthappa (41) and Gambhir (28), returned to the dugout with the total reading 78.

Yusuf Pathan, put down at 0 by S. Anirudh and on 21 by Dale Steyn, then went on to bludgeon the Sunrisers’ attack with a barrage of sixes and boundaries and singlehandedly turn the match in favour of KKR.

Scoreboard

Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner b Morkel 4 (2b, 1x4), Shikhar Dhawan run out 29 (31b, 5x4), Naman Ojha c & b ten Doeschate 26 (23b, 5x4, 1x6), Y. Venugopal Rao run out 27 (26b, 4x4), Darren Sammy c Shakib b Vinay Kumar 29 (19b, 1x4, 3x6), S. Anirudha st. Uthappa b Shakib 3 (5b), Jason Holder run out 16 (12b, 2x4, 1x6), Karn Sharma (not out) 5 (2b, 1x4), Parveez Rasool (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-13, w-8): 21; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 160.

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Warner), 2-69 (Ojha), 3-89 (Dhawan), 4-121 (Rao), 5-127 (Anirudha), 6-155 (Holder), 7-155 (Sammy).

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Morne Morkel 4-1-32-1, R. Vinay Kumar 4-0-32-1, Sunil Narine 4-0-19-0, Umesh Yadav 3-0-32-0, Ryan ten Doeschate 1-0-7-1, Shakib Al Hasan 4-1-25-1.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa c Holder b Karn 41 (30b, 4x4, 2x6), Gautam Gambhir b Hodler 28 (18b, 4x4, 1x6), Manish Pandey c Steyn b Karn 2 (7b), Yusuf Pathan c Dhawan b Karn 72 (22b, 5x4, 7x6), Ryan ten Doeschate run out 0 (1b), Shakib Al Hasan c Hodler b Karn 1 (5b), Suryakumar Yadav (not out) 12 (5b, 1x4, 1x6), Vinay Kumar (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-1, w-2, nb-2): 5; Total (for six wkts. in 14.2 overs): 161.

Fall of wickets: 1-43 (Gambhir), 2-55 (Pandey), 3-77 (Uthappa), 4-78 (ten Doeschate), 5-116 (Shakib), 6-153 (Yusuf).

Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2.2-0-22-0, Dale Steyn 4-0-43-0, Jason Holder 3-0-35-1, Karn Sharma 4-0-38-4, Parveez Rasool 1-0-22-0.

Man-of-the-match: Yusuf Pathan.

KKR won by four wickets with 5.4 overs to spare