Sunrisers Hyderabad backed its strength in bowling, spearheaded by the miserly Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman, to stifle a resurgent Kolkata Knight Riders at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Wednesday.
Gautam Gambhir wil rue the mistimed pull that cost his wicket and caused a major dent in KKR’s pursuit of 163 to win the Eliminator.
In Qualifier 2 on Friday, Sunrisers will meet Gujarat Lions at the same venue.
KKR, on electing to field, took a grip on the contest when Kuldeep Yadav, varying his pace well, removed Moises Henriques and David Warner. It was a decisive moment for KKR since Henriques and Warner were hardly hastened into playing their shots.
At the halfway stage, Sunrisers were not in a healthy state – 71 for three – and the lack of depth in their batting meant Yuvraj had to take over the responsibility.
Just 43 in the PowerPlay was an average start for Sunrisers before Yuvraj and Deepak Hooda laid the base for a 150-plus total.
It was not the Yuvraj of old, yet he got the ball to fly off his bat. His timing was excellent and so was his shot selection as he picked the ball early to come up with some crisp drives. The pitch was a trifle slow but the left-hander was not — always in position to make the most of it.
KKR did well to shackle Sunrisers every time the latter tried to come back. It was a combination of some good bowling and a few over-ambitious strokes.
Like Shikhar Dhawan taking on Morkel too early and losing his stump. Yuvraj thwarted the KKR plans but not beyond a stage. A target of 162 was competitive, given the strength of Sunrisers’ bowling.
A blistering start was on KKR’s mind. Robin Uthappa was in a hurry to dominate and support came from Gambhir.
Two delicate flicks from Gambhir reflected his superb touch, but he failed to time his pull and his dismissal, after Uthappa’s wicket, pushed KKR on the backfoot.
Sense of urgency
There was a sense of urgency in the KKR ranks to get to the target.
The emphasis was on playing the shots and proof came in the shape of Colin Munro and Yusuf Pathan.
Munro swung at every ball and made the mistake of taking on Yuvraj, who scored with a direct hit with one stump at sight.
This was vintage Yuvraj and the wicket galvanized Sunrisers. The reward came when Yusuf was superbly taken by Bhuvneshwar running in from deep midwicket and latching on even as the ball dipped.
Manish Pandey carried on and Sunrisers found themselves in a spot.
The quick wickets of Suryakumar Yadav and Pandey added to the excitement.
KKR had the capacity to pull it off as long as Jason Holder was on strike.
Sunrisers placed its faith in its bowlers. They once again did the trick.
Twenty-five runs off the last over by Bhuvneshwar proved beyond KKR.
Moises Henriques was named Man-of-the-Match for his fantastic performance.