David Warner failed, the Sunrisers Hyderabad got into a muddle and the Kolkata Knight Riders picked up their second win in IPL 2016. Needing a victory after a heavy loss to RCB in their opening match of the season, the SRH batsmen failed again, with it leaving the bowlers with too much to do.
Choosing to bat first in their first home game of IPL 2016, SRH rather lost their way after losing their openers early, finishing on 142/7, only thanks to a measured half-century from Eoin Morgan (51, 43b, 3x4, 2x6) and a nice hand from Naman Ojha (37, 28b, 2x4, 2x6).
With the pressure off, courtesy the small chase, Gautam Gambhir (90 n.o., 60b, 13x4, 1x6)) and Robin Uthappa (38, 34b, 3x4, 1x6) played risk-free cricket, putting on 92 runs together, to ensure there would be no problems at all. KKR eventually finished on 146 for two in 18.2 overs to complete an eight-wicket win.
Early wickets were the only way SRH were going to make a game of this on a wicket, while not a batting beauty, did not have enough demons in it to cause the batsmen too many worries.
However, knowing the importance if not losing wickets and allowing SRH a way into the game, Gambhir and Uthappa played smart cricket, not taking any chances, while ensuring they put the bad balls away. They got to 36/0 after the Powerplay overs, before slowly but surely cranking up the run rate with every passing over.
Once Karn Sharma, the legspinner came in to bowl, Gambhir, one of the best players of spin in the game, was there to take advantage, taking the bowler for 14 runs. That immediately brought down the required ruin rate to near a run a ball, and while Mustafizur Rahman, so impressive again, and Ashish Reddy pulled things back a little, by picking up the wickets of Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell – completely beaten by a ripper of a yorker from Mustafizur – KKR were never in bother, as Manish Pandey and Gambhir saw their team home.
Earlier, once Warner and Shikhar Dhawan, whose early wicket was one of the most predictable things in IPL 2016, fell early, to Morne Morkel (4-0-35-2) and Umesh Yadav (4-0-28-3) respectively, SRH, who also had to contend with the returning Sunil Narine (4-0-26-0) struggled for momentum, with Moises Henriques and Deepak Hooda also dismissed without troubling the scorers too much.
SRH have been hampered by the injuries to Yuvraj Singh and Kane Williamson in the batting order, but they need to find a way to build up a head of steam even when Warner falls early. Morgan and Ojha did really well to put a decent score on the board, putting on 67 runs in under eight overs, but 142 was never going to be enough.