Kolkata Knight Riders have qualified for IPL 2016 playoffs, defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad by 22 runs at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. KKR were up for the game in front of their home fans, as it was an all-round display from their players, which helped them defeat SRH.
Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey played an important role in the win for KKR, scoring 52 and 48 runs respectively. KKR, who with the help of Pathan and Pandey, made 171 runs in the first innings, and restricted SRH to 149 runs.
SRH openers – David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan – had to start well to win, but they received an early setback with the Australian out in the fourth over. Despite losing his partner, Shikhar played well, and helped SRH score decent 48 runs in the Powerplay.
KKR were bowling brilliantly, thus making life difficult for SRH to score runs freely, which was just increasing the required run rate. They had to score 102 runs from the last 10 overs. Shikhar completed his half-century, but the job was only half done, and the left-hander had to stay at the crease longer to help SRH win.
Shikhar was batting well, but Naman Ojha was struggling to hit boundaries. The pressure was on Shikhar to score, and lost his wicket in the 12th over. SRH were in trouble as Ojha was also dismissed in the next over, which resulted in two new batsmen at the crease.
Yuvraj Singh and Kane Williamson had to play a quality knock with KKR supporters in full voice at Eden Gardens. Yuvraj was striking it well, hitting some wonderful sixes, and reducing the pressure on his partner, Williamson. But the left hander, who was looking great, mistimed the ball, leading to his dismissal. Things went from bad to worse for SRH as Deepak Hooda was run out in the 16th over, followed by Williamson's wicket.
With wickets falling at regular intervals, SRH could not score runs at a brisk pace, which led to their sixth loss of IPL 2016, as they scored 149 runs in 20 overs.
Earlier, KKR got off to an amazing start, with Robin Uthappa scoring runs in boundaries early on, including three fours in the first over. But, Uthappa, despite scoring runs in boundaries, went for another huge shot and top edged the ball for a simple catch. Uthappa scored 25 runs.
KKR lost their second wicket in the Powerplay as Colin Munro departed scoring 8-ball 10. KKR scored 48 runs in the first six overs, but they were in all sorts of trouble as they were soon 57 for three wickets in the eighth over as Gambhir was also gone.
Pandey and Pathan played according to their strengths, and tried to dominate the proceedings. Pandey even hit two sixes in one Karn Sharma's over as well. The duo looked good, and reached 85 runs midway in the first innings.
KKR were looking good for a healthy total as Pandey and Pathan were scoring runs in boundaries, and the latter was looking ominous with his powerful shots for sixes. KKR managed to score 130 runs in 14 overs, and a total of 200 also looked possible with the duo in amazing form, but Pandey lost his wicket in the 16th over. New batsman Jason Holder was also dismissed by Mustafizur Rahman in the next over.
KKR could not finish on a high, but Pathan's 32-ball 54 helped them score 171 runs in their allotted 20 overs, which proved to be enough as their bowlers were spot on in the second innings, helping the home team register the all-important victory.
Despite the loss, SRH had already qualifed for the IPL 2016 playoffs, even before the penultimate game of the league phase started, but their chances of finishing in top two will depend on the net run rate after the Delhi Daredevils vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match is over.