Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir flung his bat in disgust in the dug-out after being given out to Dale Steyn in the second over of the chase. But, some of his key batsmen refrained from throwing their wickets away as they guided the team to a seven-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, chasing down a modest target of 143, at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Sunday.
Opener Robin Uthappa tried to score of every ball and was lucky to survive when on nine; Shikhar Dhawan dropped a skier from him off Dale Steyn. Uthappa, however, managed went on to set the chase up with a breezy knock which included a terrific flick off Steyn for six.
Yusuf Pathan, who has been struggling for form this season, found his touch too, batting in the care-free manner he is known for. He cut his brother Irfan Pathan and Steyn with ease, and later pulled leggie Amit Mishra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for huge sixes.
Yusuf and Ryan ten Doeschate ensured there were no more hiccups in the death overs. The chase once again exposed the chinks in the SRH attack, which saw it suffer its third straight defeat in front of the home crowd — a performance which could diminish its chances of making the play-offs.
Earlier, on a perfect batting strip, fast bowler Umesh Yadav came up with a wonderful performance to restrict Sunriders to a modest 142 in 20 overs.
The big fast bowler first dismissed the dangerous but shaky Aaron Finch inducing him to play away from his body to an out-swinger, and Morne Morkel took a splendid, diving catch to his left at third-man.
Soon, Sunil Narine had deposed captain Shikhar Dhawan — Darren Sammy was named to lead SRH for the remaining games — mis-timing a sweep to be caught by Gambhir.
Though Naman Ojha started off well hitting two huge sixes, one each off ten Doeschate and left-arm spinner Shakib al Hasan, he got out clipping one straight to backward-point, much to the delight of Shakib in the same over.
At the other end, the big-hitting David Warner hit some lusty hits and looked in ominous form but pulled Umesh straight to Yusuf Pathan.
Gambhir’s gamble of shuffling around his bowlers clicked as they bowled to the field.
Only 33 runs were scored off the last five overs while SRH lose three wickets, with leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine giving little away.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Aaron Finch c Morkel b Umesh 8 (8b, 1x4), Shikhar Dhawan c Gambhir b Narine 19 (14b, 3x4), Naman Ojha c Yusuf b Shakib 22 (24b, 1x4, 2x6), David Warner c Yusuf b Umesh 34 (18b, 3x4, 2x6), K.L. Rahul lbw b Chawla 14 (15b, 2x4), Irfan Pathan (not out) 23 (19b, 2x4), Darren Sammy c Pandey b Shakib 7 (16b), Karn Sharma run out 4 (4b), Dale Steyn b Umesh 1 (2b); Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-8): 10; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 142.
Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Finch), 2-41 (Dhawan), 3-64 (Ojha), 4-98 (Rahul), 5-104 (Warner), 6-129 (Sammy), 7-139 (Karn), 8-142 (Steyn).
Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Morne Morkel 4-0-39-0, Umesh Yadav 4-0-26-3, Sunil Narine 4-0-21-1, Shakib Al Hasan 3-0-22-2, Ryan ten Doeschate 1-0-8-0, Piyush Chawla 4-0-24-1.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa run out 40 (33b, 5x4, 1x6), Gautam Gambhir c Ojha b Steyn 6 (10b, 1x4), Manish Pandey c Finch b Karn Sharma 35 (32b, 3x4, 1x6), Yusuf Pathan (not out) 39 (28b, 2x4, 2x6), Ryan ten Doeschate (not out) 25 (15b, 2x4, 1x6); Extras (lb-1): 1; Total (for three wkts. in 19.4 overs): 146.
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Gambhir), 2-59 (Uthappa), 3-104 (Pandey).
Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3.4-0-37-0, Dale Steyn 4-0-24-1, Karn Sharma 4-0-19-1, Darren Sammy 1-0-7-0, Amit Mishra 4-0-38-0, Irfan Pathan 3-0-20-0.
Man-of-the-Match: Umesh Yadav.
Kolkata Knight Riders won by seven wickets.