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IPL 2014 – KKR vs SRH: KKR Make It Four Wins In A Row

By on May 19, 2014

Kolkata Knight Riders 146 for 3 (Uthappa 40, Yusuf 39*) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 142 for 8 (Warner 34, Umesh 3-26) by seven wickets…

Just past the halfway point of the Sunrisers Hyderabad innings, speaking to the TV commentators, Shikhar Dhawan said his team were looking at getting to 180 on what he called a “beautiful batting wicket”. Dhawan’s assessment was probably right, and Sunrisers, at that point, were on course to get to 180, going by their run-rate and by how David Warner was batting.

ipl-2014-kkrIPL 2014 - KKR vs SRH: Umesh Yadavvs-srh-yadavBut they had lost three wickets at that point, and they lost two more in the next two overs, including that of Warner, for an 18-ball 34. In the 40 balls that remained after Warner’s dismissal, Sunrisers scored just 38 runs.

It left Kolkata Knight Riders chasing a target of 143, and they achieved it without too much of a struggle, losing only three wickets, with four of their five batsmen scoring 25 or more.

The one batsman who didn’t was their captain Gautam Gambhir, who was given out caught behind off Dale Steyn, perhaps unluckily.

There seemed to be a fairly big gap between Gambhir’s outside edge and the ball, but he made his feelings known in perhaps too vociferous a manner to elude the match referee’s eye.

Knight Riders were 8 for 1 then. Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey, both helped along by dropped catches, steadied the chase with a 51-run second-wicket partnership, before Yusuf Pathan and Ryan ten Doeschate struck some important blows at the end to make sure Knight Riders always kept pace with the asking-rate.

Towards the end, Sunrisers kept things interesting with a couple of tight overs. The equation went from 40 from 30 to 30 from 18, after Karn Sharma and Irfan Pathan gave away only 10 from the 16th and 17th overs. Yusuf immediately swung the first ball of the next over, from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, over midwicket for six. Dale Steyn gave away just six from the 19th over, to leave Knight Riders needing 10 from the last over. Ten Doeschate coolly sliced the second ball of the over – Bhuvneshwar the bowler once again – over the cover boundary for six. It was a shot that reinforced a simple fact: Knight Riders were only chasing 143.

It could have been so much more, but Sunrisers, even though they began brightly from a run-rate point of view, lost far too many wickets far too soon. It was a particularly dangerous thing to do for a line-up as top-heavy as theirs.

Knight Riders’ bowlers didn’t contribute too much to the dismissals of Sunrisers’ big-name batsmen. Aaron Finch went hard at an Umesh Yadav outswinger and edged a catch to third man. Dhawan – having been replaced as captain by Sammy – played some sparkling shots through the off side before top-edging a slog sweep – a shot he might not have wanted to attempt in Sunil Narine’s first over.

Naman Ojha looked in superb touch, hitting two crisp straight sixes, before slicing a wide, full ball from Shakib Al Hasan straight to point. Warner, after a breezy start, pulled a short ball from Umesh straight to midwicket.

All this left Irfan and Sammy batting together in the 14th over. Both batsmen are perfectly suited to coming in towards the end of an innings and launching off immediately, but neither is particularly suited to starting their innings against spin.

Sammy, in particular, was an ungainly sight against Narine and Piyush Chawla, heaving at them after a massive wind-up of his bat and timing absolutely nothing. Pathan looked a little better, sweeping and lofting Chawla for two fours in the 17th over, but that over – which brought 12 runs – came completely against the run of play. Those two fours were the only boundaries Sunrisers hit in the last six overs.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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