Home ground Eden Gardens and captain Gautam Gambhir helped defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders overcome the nightmare of back-to-back defeats and revive their fortunes in the IPL-VI, as they trounced Sunrisers Hyderabad by 48 runs. This was the second win in four matches for KKR and second defeat in four outings for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In-form Gambhir’s second successive half-century and 18th overall in IPL and equally impressive, albeit contrasting, knocks by Eoin Morgan and Jacques Kallis powered the home side to an imposing total of 180 for four. The disciplined KKR bowlers matched the good work of their batsmen and restricted Hyderabad to 132 for seven.
Senior pro Kallis stood out among the bowlers, scalping three crucial wickets for only 13 runs.
Bowling with precision, he stifled the opposition batsmen and forced them to go for wild hits, culminating in their dismissals. He ejected Parthiv Patel, Thisara Perera and danger-man Cameron White. Sunrisers, though, started their chase on a sound note with Patel and
White putting on 57 runs for the opening wicket. But after White’s exit, the innings crumbled as wickets fell at regular intervals. The cheap dismissal of skipper Kumar Sangakkara snuffed out any chance of recovering.
The KKR spin attack, strengthened by the inclusion of Sri Lankan offie Sachithra Senanayake, compounded the agony of the opposition batsmen, who lacked in the will and ability to build innings by playing authentic shots. Senanayake was most economic among the KKR bowlers, conceding 18 runs in his four overs and taking the wicket of Ashish Reddy. Utility-man Rajat Bhatia, too, picked up two wickets while local boy Manoj Tiwary snapped three catches.
Earlier, electing to bat on a slowish Eden wicket, KKR mustered their highest total in this edition, and expectedly their top five batsmen were among the runs.
Leading from the front, Gambhir slammed 45-ball 53 with the help of five boundaries and a six.
He compiled 59 runs for the opening wicket with Manvinder Bisla, who ended his run-drought with a 24-ball 28.
After their exit, Kallis (41) and Eoin Morgan (47), bolstered the innings, stitching 67 runs for the third-wicket. Morgan was the aggressor, hitting Thisara Perera for 22 runs (three boundaries and one six) in the 18th over and Dale Steyn for 15 runs (one six, one four) in the next one.
For once, the formidable Sunrisers bowling attack looked off-colour and Dale Steyn, their pace spearhead, went wicketless, conceding 29 runs in four overs.
None of the front-line bowlers, including speedster Ishant Sharma and leggie Amit Mishra, got any wicket and were expensive. Medium-pacer Thisara Perera was the costliest (44 runs @ 11 an over).
Sangakkara juggled with seven bowlers but without the desired results.