IPL 2016: Gambhir stars as KKR defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad

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Image Courtesy: © IPL

IPL 2016: Gambhir stars as KKR defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad

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Arun S Kaimal


Gautham Gambhir’s 60-ball 90 helped Kolkata Knight Riders register an eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad at Hyderabad on Saturday. After restricting the home side to 142/7, Gambhir and Uthappa made a 92-run opening partnership to help the team stroll to a comfortable victory.

Brief Scores: SRH 142/7 in 20/20 overs (Morgan 51(43), Ojha 37(28), Umesh Yadav 3/28) lost to KKR 146/2 in 18.2/20 overs (Gambhir 90*(60), Uthappa 38(34), Ashish Reddy 1/14) by eight wickets

Chasing a moderate total of 143, Kolkata Knight Riders got off to a cautious start scoring run-a-ball in the powerplay. Skipper Gautham Gambhir, who scored a 52-ball 64 against Kolkata Knight Riders in the last match, continued from where he had left off and took the team past the fifty-run mark without making much fuss. With singles and twos freely coming, Gambhir and Uthappa milked the bowlers and collected runs without going for big shots.

SRH skipper David Warner tried all the bowlers in his armory, but with the score board putting no pressure on the batsmen, all the efforts from the home team fell flat on the ground. After playing second fiddle to Uthappa for the first ten overs, Gambhir upped his ante in the 11th over and ripped apart Karn Sharma by sending the leg-spinner to the ropes three times in a row. The left-hander brought up his 28th fifty in the IPL in the 13th over, as the away side looked at home in the middle.

However, Ashish Reddy brought some cheer to the home crowd a few balls later by trapping Uthappa in front of the stumps to remove him for a well-made 38 off 34 balls. Andre Russell came up to finish the match in a hurry, but returned to the pavilion without troubling the scorers much after Mustafizur Rahman cleaned up the West Indian.

Two quick wickets suddenly brought the home side back into the match from nowhere, after they had looked beaten for the majority of the contest. Although, with KKR needing only 42 off the last six overs, Gambhir and Manish Pandey made sure that there was no more trouble for the away side as they strolled to a victory with 10 balls to spare.  

Earlier, in the first doubleheader of the season, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) took on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Hyderabad in search of their first win of the season after suffering a 45-run defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening encounter. SRH brought in Barinder Sran in place of the injured Ashish Nehra, after the left-arm pacer picked up a groin injury in the last match.

Kolkata Knight Riders, on the other hand, made four changes to the XI that suffered a defeat against Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, with Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Shakib Al-Hasan and Umesh Yadav coming in for John Hastings, Brad Hogg, Kuldeep Yadav and Colin Munro.

The home side won the toss and opted to make use of the fresh wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium. Morne Morkel made an instant impact or at least everyone thought he did. SRH skipper David Warner went for an ambitious pull off the front foot against the South African, and skied to give Piyush Chawla a grab at it at square leg. The leg-spinner caught it somehow to start the celebrations, but the replays on the big screen showed Morkel overstepping and the home crowd were once again back on their feet to see Warner live to fight another day.

Although Warner survived a scare, there was no second life for his partner at the other end. Shikhar Dhawan jumped out of the crease against Morkel and lashed at it, only to edge it to Uthappa behind the stumps in the third over. The bad start became a horrible one, four balls later, as the skipper also walked back to the pavilion, this time, falling to Umesh Yadav’s cutter to give Suryakumar Yadav the catch at cover.

The procession to the pavilion continued as Moisés Henriques also followed his predecessors after Yadav trapped the right-hander in front of the stumps. The run rate crawled near the five-run mark as Gambhir introduced Narine and Chawla to add further misery to the SRH batting. Deepak Hooda’s resistance also ended in the tenth over, after he shoved one in the air straight to long-on.

With wickets falling thick and fast at the other end, Eoin Morgan took it upon himself to take the team out of trouble. The Englishman, who went through a horrible run in the World T20, smashed Narine for two consecutive boundaries in the 13th over, before joining hands with Naman Ojha to dish out a similar treatment to Chawla in the next over. The counter-attack from the duo gave the home side the much-needed momentum in the last five, as SRH looked in a dominant position for the first time in the match. A total of 48 runs came in the last five overs as Morgan and Ojha took the team to a fighting total of 142/7 on the back of a 67-run partnership.  

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