Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) had another off day in the office after the drubbing they received from the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Sunday. On Wednesday, playing against the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) at their fortress the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, KKR could manage 155 for 8 from 20 overs — a total well below par. Manish Pandey (37) and Colin de Grandhomme (36) were the chief contributors, while Suryakumar Yadav (30)* provided late impetus with his fireworks. The team clearly missed their star batsman Robin Uthappa and never really looked on control in the first half. The onus now will be on their bowlers to defend the total against the in-form RPS batting. Full cricket scorecard: KKR vs RPS, Match 41
Winning the toss, RPS captain Steven Smith opted to bowl. KKR made one forced change to their XI, as Uthappa missed out due to a hamstring niggle. Their out-of-form vice-captain Suryakumar returned in place of the wicketkeeper-batsman, who has been in a red-hot form this season. RPS did not tinker with the XI that won against Gujarat Lions (GL) the other day.
KKR did not have the best of the starts at their fortress, as pinch-hitter Sunil Narine failed this time around. Jaydev Unadkat sent him back for naught. In Uthappa’s absence, Sheldon Jackson was promoted to bat at No. 3. But the Saurashtra lad looked off colour from the beginning. Though he got a couple of fours, but his struggle ended in a bizarre way when he was dismissed hit-wicket off Washington Sundar’s bowling.
Pandey then joined skipper Gautam Gambhir in a bid to steady the ship. After a slow start, Gambhir was getting into his groove when he hit Ben Stokes for successive boundaries and then hit Sundar for a four and a six in the next over. However, just when he was looking ominous, he got out against the run of play. He was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at deep mid-wicket off Sundar’s bowling while trying to hit the ball out of part. KKR were 40 for 3 at this stage.
The problems only compounded for the home side as Yusuf Pathan failed to fire yet again. He could score a mere 4 off 9 balls before Imran Tahir caught him plumb in front of the wicket. Pandey and de Grandhomme then stitched a 48-run stand — the highest of KKR innings — and resurrected the innings a bit. Grandhomme was the aggressive of the two, hitting 3 fours and 2 sixes during his 19-ball stay at the wicket that fetched him 36 runs. They were dismissed by Dan Christian and Unadkat respectively.
Suryakumar then provided the finishing touches to the KKR innings, which eventually ended on 155 for 8 in 20 overs.
For RPS, Unadkat, Tahir, Sundar Stokes and Christian were among the wickets, with Unadkat being the pick of the bowlers with his figures of 2 for 28 from 4 overs.
Kolkata Knight Riders 155 for 8 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 37, Colin de Grandhomme 36, Suryakumar Yadav 30*; Washington Sundar 2 for 18, Jaydev Unadkat 2 for 28) vs Rising Pune Supergiant