Hyderabad, April 16 (IANS) Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) rode on an unbeaten 60-ball knock of 90 from captain Gautam Gambhir after an impressive bowling performance to grab an eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Saturday.
Gambhir received great support from Robin Uthappa who contributed a 34-ball 38.
Chasing Hyderabad’s 142/7, the Knights got off to a slow but steady start on a strip which was slowing down with time. However, openers Uthappa and Gambhir did not have much problems coping with the inconsistent bounce. The duo added 26 runs in the first six overs.
They went from strength to strength and the ninth, 10th and 11th together produced 36 runs, with Gambhir hitting Karn Sharma for three boundaries in an over. The 92-run partnership finally broke when Uthappa was out leg-before-wicket in the 13th over.
The ploy of sending in hard-hitting Jamaican Andre Russell (2) at No.3 backfired for KKR as he was soon dismissed by left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman.
It looked like the Sunrisers were in with a chance, but then Manish Pandey joined hands with his captain in the middle. The pair ensured that KKR had their first away-win without any more setbacks.
Earlier in the day, the visitors once again put up a disciplined bowling show as they restricted Sunrisers Hyderabad to 142/7.
Eoin Morgan top-scored for Sunrisers with a 43-ball 51 and was well supported by Naman Ojha who smashed 37 off 28 balls. Pacer Umesh Yadav bagged figures of 3/28 for the visitors.
The hosts were jolted upfront as KKR picked up two early wickets. First to head back was the out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan (6) who managed to slash one through to wicket-keeper Robin Uthappa in the third over.
Next, Umesh foxed captain David Warner (13) with a cutter and the powerful left-hander only managed to scoop it till short-cover.
In the last over of the powerplay, Umesh struck again as he trapped Moses Henriques (6) in front of the stumps with the score reading 36/3.
Sunrisers finally got some momentum in the 13th over as Morgan hit spinner Sunil Narine for two consecutive boundaries, much to the delight of the crowd. The next over from leg-spinner Piyush Chawla also helped the hosts as it yielded 13 runs with Ojha joining the act.
It took a brilliant catch to break the 67-run partnership as Ojha was holed out. Andre Russell held onto the ball first, but seeing that he would cross the boundary line he threw it back to Chawla who grabbed it on the second attempt.
Thereafter Morgan also fell trying to heave one to the leg side and with it went Sunrisers’ hope of getting to the par 160 mark.
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 142/7 (Eoin Morgan 51, Naman Ojha 37; Umesh Yadav 3/28, Morne Morkel 2/35) vs Kolkata Knight Riders 146/2 (Gautam Gambhir 90 not out, Robin Uthappa 38)