Kolkata Knight Riders (146/3) needed a strong final over from Ryan ten Doeschate (25 runs off 15 balls) to defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad (142/8) on Sunday, winning their IPL7 match by seven wickets.
Knight Riders take sole possession of the fourth spot in the IPL standings, leading Royal Challengers Bangalore by two points for the final play-off ticket.
Sunrisers chose to bat first needing a win to keep the race for the play-offs close, but on a slow pitch, the team ran into an excellent bowling display from their opponents.
|Sunrisers Hyderabad (142/8)|
|Aaron Finch||c Morne Morkel b Umesh Yadav||8||8||100.00||1||0|
|Shikhar Dhawan||c Gautam Gambhir b Sunil Narine||19||14||135.71||4||0|
|Naman Ojha||c Yusuf Pathan b Shakib Al Hasan||22||24||91.66||1||2|
|David Warner||c Yusuf Pathan b Umesh Yadav||34||18||188.88||3||2|
|Lokesh Rahul||lbw Piyush Chawla||14||15||93.33||2||0|
|Irfan Pathan||NOT OUT||23||19||121.05||2||0|
|Darren Sammy||c Manish Pandey b Shakib Al Hasan||7||16||43.75||0||0|
|Karan Sharma||run out (Yusuf Pathan)||4||4||100.00||0||0|
|Dale Steyn||b Umesh Yadav||1||2||50.00||0||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 8, b 1, lb 1)||10|
|TOTAL||(8 wickets; 20 overs)||142|
|Shakib Al Hasan||3||22||2||7.33||8|
|Ryan ten Doeschate||1||8||0||8.00||3|
Aaron Finch would open with just eight runs, while Shikhar Dhawan was held to 19 off 14 balls. David Warner continued his excellent year with 34 runs from 18 balls, but the rest of Hyderabad's order was contained by brilliant performances from Sunil Narine and Umesh Yadav.
Darren Sammy was held to just seven runs off 16 balls, and Yadav took care of the dangerous Dale Steyn on just his second ball, going out with a single run.
Freddie Wilde was impressed:
A chase of 147 seemed very manageable for Kolkata, but Knight Riders ran into some trouble early on as star batsman Gautam Gambhir was dismissed after just 10 balls, scoring six. This left the player in a foul mood:
Sunrisers did a solid job controlling Kolkata's batsmen, and while Steyn and company didn't take too many wickets, they managed to slow down the pace of the chase enough to give their team a chance.
|Kolkata Knight Riders (146/3)|
|Robin Uthappa||run out (Darren Sammy)||40||33||121.21||5||1|
|Gautam Gambhir||c Naman Ojha b Dale Steyn||6||10||60.00||1||0|
|Manish Pandey||c Aaron Finch b Karan Sharma||35||32||109.37||3||1|
|Yusuf Pathan||NOT OUT||39||28||139.28||2||2|
|Ryan ten Doeschate||NOT OUT||25||15||166.66||2||1|
|TOTAL||(3 wickets; 19.4 overs)||146||TOTAL||(3 wickets; 19.4 overs)||146||TOTAL|
Karan Sharma in particular was brilliant, giving up just 19 runs in four overs and taking a single wicket. Steyn, Amit Mishra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar also did their job, and it looked like the hosts had this match in the bag midway through the innings.
But Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan would shift gears toward the final overs before Ten Doeschate stepped up in the 20th, scoring six on the first ball, adding two on the next and hitting a boundary with just one more run needed.
Gambhir was very happy with the way his batsmen stepped up late, while also explaining his reaction following his dismissal to ESPN Cricinfo:
I would not have reacted that way had I nicked it. Just happened in the heat of the moment. It was a big game for us. Happy with the way the rest of the guys batted. Want to give credit to the bowlers on such a wicket. Looking at the wicket, playing three spinners, we were looking at chasing 160-odd. The three spinners bowled brilliantly to restrict them.
Kolkata's bowlers made a huge difference indeed, and Freddie Wilde thinks this could be excellent news for the team moving forward:
Sunrisers had their chances to put this match to bed early but dropped several easy catches in the middle overs. Darren Sammy believes his team is still very much alive in the race for the play-offs, via ESPN Cricinfo:
The dot balls at the end [of our innings] cost us. The bowlers fought back to make a game out of it. We know that catches win matches, we dropped two crucial ones today. Different conditions from last year [in Hyderabad] but we have had some good games. We have not capitalised on key moments. It is not over, we have to win all three and hope some results go in our favour.
The difference between both teams is now four points, and Kolkata also hold the better net run rate. A massive match against Chennai Super Kings await Knight Riders on Tuesday, while Hyderabad will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The results of Tuesday's fixtures will have a big impact on the play-off race, and a win for Kolkata would give the team a chance at a spot in the top three with just a few matches left to be played.
Chennai's bowling has been very strong in recent weeks, and both teams will learn a lot about where they stand when they face off in what could be a preview of a play-off matchup.
Hyderabad truly gave away the win on Sunday and seemed to struggle with their fielding for much of the match, making numerous changes to their personnel. Sammy and his team will need to find a solution to that fielding fast, with the play-offs slipping from their grasp.