Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) edged past Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) by two wickets in a last-over thriller at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Sunday.
Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell came in handy with the bat as KKR managed their fourth successive run chase in IPL 2016. The match went down to the wire as KKR kept losing wickets at regular intervals. The balance of the match kept swinging from one side to the other throughout the run chase, before Umesh Yadav hit a six to finish things off in style.
For the Rising Pune Supergiants, Rajat Bhatia was the pick of the bowlers. The rest turned out to be a little expensive on a wicket that was really difficult to bat on.
One would have thought that the absence of Manish Pandey would be felt for KKR, but Suryakumar Yadav made up for it with a sensible innings of 60 runs from 49 balls, which was decorated by six fours and two sixes. He was ably assisted by Yusuf Pathan, who scored 36 from 27 balls. The duo of added 51runs together and pulled KKR out of trouble after they lost Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir and Shakib Al Hasan early.
Supergiants picked up a wicket from the very first ball of the second innings. Uthappa, who has been instrumental in the previous three matches, was out for a duck. That was a blow for the visitors as they did not have to worry much in the previous games as Uthappa and Gambhir orchestrated three successful run chases.
Earlier, Gambhir had won the toss and asked the Supergiants to bat first. KKR struck the first blow pretty early as Shakib knocked Faf du Plessis out with a beauty of an offspinner.
Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith resurrected the innings and built a partnership that built a platform from where the finishers could launch. Thisara Perera, Albie Morkel and Dhoni powered the Supergiants to the total of 160 in their alotted 20 overs.
Dhoni ideally should have batted up the order considering the fact that it was the first game for Albie Morkel. Dhoni remained unbeaten with a quickfire 23 from 12 balls. If he would have batted up the order and for a little longer, the Supergiants could have easily crossed the 170-run mark.
However, that did not happen and they could only manage 160 runs. The Supergiants skipper smashed 17 runs in the last over and that propelled them to a respectable total.
The KKR bowlers bowled extremely well in the first 15 overs, but they lost the plot in the last few overs. The Supergiants scored 41 runs in the last three overs and gave a score that their bowlers could play with.
Shakib and Rajagopal Sathish were the pick of the bowlers. Both the bowlers bowled economically and picked up important wickets. The rest of the bowlers were a tad expensive.