The Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed the Sunrisers Hyderabad by 17 runs in the first match of the double-header at the Eden Gardens. The win ensured that the Knights maintained a clean slate against the Sunrisers at home. In the five encounters at the Eden Gardens so far, the Hyderabad outfit have failed to get the better of the home team.
The hosts powered to a huge first innings total of 172, courtesy a brilliant 68 by Robin Uthappa. The run chase was always going to be a difficult one on a dry wicket which was conducive to spin bowling, resulting in the defending champions falling short at the end.
Take a look at the five talking points from today’s encounter:
#1 Uthappa rides his luck
Robin Uthappa made the most of the two reprieves he received to punish the bowling unit of the Sunrisers as he smashed 68 runs off just 39 deliveries. The Karnataka batsman should have been dismissed for a golden duck when he nicked an away going delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, only for the appeal to be turned down by the umpire Anil Dandekar.
The 31-year-old made full use of the opportunity as he forged a crucial partnership with Manish Pandey. The duo put on 77 runs for the third wicket to set the platform for a huge first innings total of 172. Playing the role of an aggressor, Uthappa went about dominating the bowlers. He was at his best and often used his favourite pick up shot from outside the off stump to dispatch it towards the deep midwicket boundary.
The right-handed batsman was let off again by Shikhar Dhawan on 47 at deep mid wicket after he failed to pick up the googly from Rashid Khan. He went through with his slog sweep and a poor effort by Dhawan in the field enabled the ball to land just inches short of his dive.
The attacking innings was studded with five boundaries and four maximums.
#2 Astute captaincy from Gautam Gambhir
The skipper of the Kolkata Knight Riders led his team brilliantly against the Sunrisers. Gambhir, with loads of international experience under his belt, assessed the conditions pretty well.
It was a dry surface on offer at the Eden Gardens and with a bit of turn, he unleashed his two spinners, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav in the powerplay to restrict the flow of runs. The change of pace and the ball not coming on to the bat made life difficult for the visiting side as they failed to get going in the middle overs.
Gambhir was proactive with his bowling changes and aggressive field placing resulting in wickets at regular intervals to help his side canter to a comprehensive victory.
#3 Sunrisers fail to break the Eden jinx
The defending champions continued their poor run at the Eden Gardens as they failed to get over the line against the Knight Riders. They have lost all the five matches played so far at this venue against the home team.
In today’s game, the batting unit of the Sunrisers failed to get going due to the slow nature of the wicket and that resulted in their downfall. Most of the batsmen like the ball coming on to the bat and this slow wicket did not suit their style of play.
This is the second loss on the trot for the Hyderabad outfit and the failure of not breaking the Eden Garden jinx and getting back to winning ways will surely hurt them.
#4 Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s brilliance at the death overs
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been one of the best T-20 bowlers in the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League. He has been tremendous with his line and length throughout the tournament and is currently the purple cap holder with 10 wickets.
The 27-year-old started the match in a commanding fashion as he castled Sunil Narine with a perfectly executed yorker in the third over of the innings. He returned to bowl in the death overs and scalped two wickets including that of Manish Pandey with a well disguised slower delivery.
Kumar has been the most economical bowler for the Sunrisers mainly due to his ability to bowl the yorkers on a consistent basis and the variety of deliveries up his sleeve. He finished with figures of three for 20 in his quota of four overs.
#5 Chinks in the Sunrisers batting
Batting was not the strength for the Sunrisers throughout the last edition and the same problem continues to haunt them in the initial games of this edition. The batting unit is overly dependent on their captain David Warner.
The lack of depth in the batting unit was exposed as none of them were able to take up the responsibility of taking the team over the line after the fall of the skipper. While Warner struggled to get going against the spinners in the middle overs, the lack of decent partnerships in the middle order would certainly worry the management.
They were dented by the fall of wickets at regular intervals in this huge run chase which eventually resulted in their downfall.