KKR top table with Uthappa and spinners

Karnataka boys Uthappa, Pandey star in KKR win


Kolkata Knight Riders made it two wins out of two at home this season after they defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by 17 runs at the Eden Gardens on Saturday evening. Having been put in to bat, KKR were piloted by Robin Uthappa’s half-century and Manish Pandey’s fluent 46, to 172-6. In the second half, KKR’s spinners strangled the visitors’ batsmen by choking the runs and helped build the pressure; none of the SRH batsmen made it past 26.


Brought down to earth

On Thursday, Sunil Narine and Gautam Gambhir ran up 76 in in 34 balls, taking KKR to their best Powerplay score. They were also helped by some lacklustre bowling from Kings XI’s seamers, who kept feeding Narine with hip-high balls, which he comfortably swatted away, taking 23 off his 37 runs through the leg side. At the other end, they kept offering Gambhir width.

Narine usually camps back in his crease, which means the perfect ball to him is a yorker. Kings XI did not bowl a single yorker to him, but Bhuvneshwar bowled one in his second over and scythed through Narine’s defence. Gambhir again went after anything that was remotely full and outside off. Then, in Rashid Khan’s first over, he was bowled, attempting to cut a non-turning legbreak, and KKR were kept to their first sub-50 score in the Powerplay this season.

Uthappa, Pandey cash in
Uthappa thickly edged his first ball to the keeper but got away. Dhawan then missed a direct hit when Uthappa was on 15. Uthappa went on to bring up a fifty off 27 balls. It wasn’t wild slogging. He read Rashid’s googlies and lined up the short balls that sat up on a surface that was drier than the one used for the Kings XI game. Uthappa took Rashid for 21 runs in 12 balls, the most any batsman has scored off him in this IPL.

Pandey could have been dismissed for 8 had Naman Ojha not missed a stumping chance off left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma. Pandey was on 26 off 26 balls, including two fours, at one point, but hit three boundaries off his next five balls.

 Staying alive at the death

In the previous season, Bhuvneshwar had picked up 13 wickets in 162 balls in the death overs – the joint highest with Shane Watson. After bowling two overs in the Powerplay, he returned to the attack in the 18th over and nabbed Pandey with a slower offcutter. In his next over, Bhuvneshwar cleaned up Colin Grandhomme with an inswinging yorker.

Kuldeep turns it around
Warner and Dhawan punished width, and hit a collective eight fours in the Powerplay. The introduction of Kuldeep, however, applied the brakes on the chase.

Kuldeep had harried Sunrisers last season, collecting 3 for 35 in the Eliminator. So, it wasn’t really surprising that he was picked ahead of Piyush Chawla for this game. Warner, however, was surprised by Kuldeep’s dip and turn. He managed only 7 off 13 balls against Kuldeep before skying a catch to long-off. Chris Woakes backed that up by removing Moises Henriques in the next over.

When Yuvraj Singh fell, Sunrisers needed 61 off 31 balls. It was too tall a task, and KKR secured their fifth win in as many matches against Sunrisers at Eden Gardens.

Brief Scores

Kolkata Knight Riders: 172-6 (Robin Uthappa 68, Manish Pandey 46, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-20) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad: 155-6 (David Warner 26, Yuvraj Singh 26, Chris Woakes 2-49) by 17 runs.

Man of the Match: Robin Uthappa


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