An 89-run stand between openers Parthiv and Dhawan ensures their team goes through ahead of Royal Challengers
Freighted with the hopes of a city and a near full house at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium on Sunday night, Sunrisers Hyderabad duly delivered, registering a comfortable five-wicket victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders to march into the play-offs of the Indian Premier League.
When the host’s response got underway, Parthiv Patel initially forced the pace more than his muscular mate Shikhar Dhawan.
That was until the latter gave the long handle treatment to Yusuf Pathan and leapt to pat a Kallis steepler over point for another six.
To put the brakes on this pair then seemed beyond the KKR attack, even Sunil Narin’s sorcerous spin leaving the left-handed duo quite unimpressed.
The twosome seemed inseparable until Dhawan departed, attempting a reverse sweep of Iqbal Abdulla and rapped on the pads.
The home side however made heavy weather of a simple enough chase, set off by Sunrisers captain Cameron White’s suicidal single.
For a short while it looked perched on the precipice until it took the Caribbean cool of Darren Sammy to take the sting out of a late KKR bowling resurgence, two successive sixes from the St. Lucian sealing a place among the league’s elite.
After the team’s victory stroll, the towering West Indian even regaled the crowds with an impromptu jig.
After Gambhir read the coin flip right, the Knight Riders looked well launched, helped along by the pacemen straying down the legside.
Skipper White at extra cover showed Sunrisers’ slackness with skiers was a thing of the past, closing his palms securely over such an offering from Manvinder Bisla off Perera.
So did Dhawan later at deep mid-wicket, cautious to watch the ball’s path before pocketing the catch that dismissed Jacques Kallis.
Gambhir set off for a single off Amit Mishra that simply wasn’t there, retraced his steps but Samantray’s throw to stumper Parthiv from backward point found the KKR captain hopelessly out of bounds.
A revival in fortunes for the visitors became visible as a sedate Kallis had looked set for a long stay and Pathan got the ball travelling. One straight drive by the latter off Karan Sharma seemed violent enough to break the ball to bits.
The burly Baroda native then bludgeoned Perera over the sight screen and even dared to cart Steyn over long on.
Pathan (49 not out, 3x4, 3x6) entrenched firmly in the middle and not mindful of the lack of support from the other end, affixed his signature stroke to the innings — last ball, this time off Anand Rajan, who came in for an unwell Ishant Sharma.
As if to prove catching by the Sunrisers had perked up, Perera at point plucked off a peach to send back Sunil Narine, nudging a Rajan delivery racing away.