x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Yusuf Pathan powers Kolkata to second spot

Indian all-rounder scores quickfire 72 as Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets.

Kolkata Knight Riders are peaking at the right time. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Kolkata Knight Riders are peaking at the right time. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

KOLKATA // Yusuf Pathan came up with one of the most brutal Twenty20 innings ever witnessed to propel Kolkata Knight Riders past a hapless Sunrisers Hyderabad on an electrifying night at the Eden Gardens.

Kolkata needed to chase down 161 runs in 92 deliveries – or 15.2 overs – to leapfrog Chennai Super Kings to the second spot heading into the play-offs, which would ensure a more straightforward path to the final.

That looked out of reach at the start of the innings, but Pathan’s 22-ball 72 saw them take second spot by a cushion of six balls – with four wickets and 34 balls to spare.

Coming out to bat with Kolkata on 55 for two in the eighth over needing 106 from 47 balls in response to Hyderabad’s 160 for seven in 20, Pathan was dropped by S Anirudha on 0 and by Dale Steyn on 15. That bit of luck was enough for the right-hander.

He made up for the chances by smashing four sixes and two fours, racing to 40 from 13 balls, and Kolkata needed 45 from 20 balls to overtake Chennai.

Pathan then took on Steyn, sending the world’s best fast bowler and his team on a leather hunt unlike any before.

He smashed Steyn for 26 runs studded with two huge sixes and three fours to take Kolkata within sniffing distance of their goal. He hit another six off Karn Sharma before being dismissed after one of the most memorable innings this season.

Kolkata’s victory ended any hope Hyderabad had of sneaking into the play-offs.

Morne Morkel had scalped the prized wicket of David Warner with a stunning delivery to give Kolkata the kind of start they were hoping for. The South African’s third delivery, pitching just back of a length, moved ever so slightly inwards to beat Warner before crashing into the stumps. Warner, on his part, made little effort to move his feet or cover the line of the ball and Hyderabad were at 5 for one.

Hyderabad lost wickets at regular intervals. Shikhar Dhawan and Naman Ojha were forging a fine partnership when Ryan ten Doeschate latched on to a great catch off his own bowling to get rid of the dangerous looking Ojha for 26 runs.

Dhawan (26) and Venugopal Rao (27) both fell when a decent innings seemed within their grasp and Darren Sammy was responsible for giving Hyderabad a decent total.

The West Indies right-hander, who was barely able to run after he inside-edged a delivery on to his kneecap, was inspirational en route to his 19-ball 29. His fall to Vinay Kumar in the last over signalled the end of Hyderabad’s batting front.

After Chennai had posted an eight-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata’s chances of overtaking Chennai seemed stiff, but Robin Uthappa and Gautham Gambhir laid the groundwork before Pathan came up with his slog fest to leave the capacity crowd breathless.

Roshan Thyagarajan is staff writer at Wisden India. Visit www.wisdenindia.com for more on the IPL or follow them on Twitter @WisdenIndia.

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