Since Gautam Gambhir took over the reins of the Kolkata Knight Riders, there has been a similar script to most of the games they have won. This game was no different. KKR slower bowlers choked the opposing batsmen and restricted them to a moderate total and then the opening pair of Gambhir and Uthappa scored most part of the target within their pair and helped chase down the total with ease. This is the method they have been applying for past seasons and this is exactly what they did today.
Sunrisers Hyderabad won the toss and elected to bat first. The batsman made the decision look a bad one as none of the top order batsmen stayed at the crease for a relevant time, except Eoin Morgan who stood tall during the ruins of SRH. The opening partnership lasted just 18 runs and the next few wickets read 23 for 2, 36 for 3, 50 for 4.
No application, no partnerships and the innings was going nowhere till Naman Ojha came to the crease.
Ojha added 67 runs for the 5th wicket with Morgan to add some spine to the score. Ojha was out trying to hit Morne Morkel for six when Andre Russell intercepted the ball just inside the boundary to throw it back in the field of play for Piyush Chawla to complete the catch. Ojha scored 37 off 28 balls. Morgan tried his best to take his team towards a respectable score with a 51 run innings. But that was not enough as Hyderabad finished at 142 for 7 in 20 overs. A score no way near par at a good batting wicket.
KKR started their chase in their usual manner with Gambhir and Uthappa making batting look really easy out there.
They put up yet another half century partnership in IPL to prove they are the most consistent opening pair in all of IPL. They put up 92 runs for the 1st wicket in just over 12 overs. Andre Russell was sent up the order to finish off the match but SRH fast bowler Mustafizur had other plans. He bowled an unplayable fast Yorker to Russell to sent the stumps flying in the batsman on the ground. He raised some hope for Hyderabad to get back into the contest but their efforts were no match to Gambhir`s grit. Gambhir and the new batsman, Manish Pandey avoided anymore hiccups for their team and finished off the target in 18.2 overs with Gambhir unbeaten on 90 off 60 deliveries and Pandey supporting him with a run a ball 11.
KKR looks a determined team always with the gutsy Gambhir in charge.
It would be interesting to see if the KKR lineup is prepared if Gambhir and Uthappa don’t fire.
Meanwhile, SRH are lying at the bottom of the points table and will have to look at a new approach to turn things around for them.