IPL 9, Eliminator Review: Sunrisers Hyderabad clinch a scrappy encounter

IPL 9, Eliminator Review: Sunrisers Hyderabad clinch a scrappy encounter

Sunrisers Hyderabad -Kolkata Knight Riders
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders’ teams shake hands after SRH beat KKR in the eliminator. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and asked Sunrisers Hyderabad to bat first, as has been the preferred option by the teams that win the toss. Interestingly, Gambhir opened the bowling with off-spinner Yusuf Pathan with Morne Morkel bowling from the other end. The foil worked absolutely perfectly as Pathan didn’t give away runs, allowing Morkel to try his variations to pick up the wickets.

The slowness of the Feroz Shah Kotla was something Morkel picked up on as he removed Shikhar Dhawan on the final ball of his first over. The southpaw had smashed Morkel for a boundary before allowing the towering South African pacer to breach his defenses. The Sunrisers dugout, however threw a curveball when they sent out the unassuming and recent Australian recruit Moises Henriques. While many do not associate the word ‘dasher’ with someone like Henriques, the idea was that Warner would play the big shots while Henriques would rotate the strike.

This plan was to fail miserably as Gambhir carried out perhaps the best piece of captaincy he has all tournament. With Pathan injuring his finger and completing 3 overs, the 34-year old KKR skipper introduced Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav. The latter, in particular, was a thorn in the side of the Sunrisers.

Henriques was the first to be bamboozled by the skill of Yadav as he was removed courtesy of a top-edge after scoring a brisk 31. Things went into somewhat of a crisis when Yadav removed SRH skipper David Warner the very next delivery. Warner, as he has done in the past made a futile attempt to give himself room for the cut, only for his bails to be whipped off by the unassuming Chinaman.

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This brought the unlikely pair of Deepak Hooda and Yuvraj Singh to the middle. The start of their partnership began in a rather crude fashion when they had no answer to the varieties of Sunil Narine. However, after an over of blocking, Yuvraj found his rhythm by whacking the ball around the park on several occasions. Deepak Hooda got into the act as he too slammed a whirlwind 21 off just 13 deliveries. However, Hooda would throw it away yet again as he was run-out in the similar fashion as the previous match. Ben Cutting fell prey to Kuldeep Yadav the very next delivery as Naman Ojha and Bhuvneshwar Kumar also departed without adding anything significant to the team’s cause.

Yuvraj Singh also fell to the unassuming pace of Jason Holder as it seemed as though the Knight Riders were ready to restrict the Sunrisers. However, some amazing slogging in the death from an unlikely source in Bipul Sharma ensured that the Sunrisers finished on 162-8 in their 20 overs, a par score on a slow and sluggish Delhi wicket.

The optimism with which the Kolkata Knight Riders made their way out to bat was quashed almost instantly. Robin Uthappa was the first to go as Barinder Sran got his man, striking the metal when it was indeed hot. Gautam Gambhir and Colin Munro guided the Knight Riders to safety and away from the wrath of the SRH bowlers as they played the powerplay with subtle caution.

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However, a short lapse in concentration saw Munro fall prey to the brilliance of Yuvraj Singh as the latter ran him out in prime fashion. Gambhir was the next to go, much to his disappointment when yet another miscue from him saw him taken by Vijay Shankar of the bowling of Ben Cutting.

Things went haywire when the alpha and omega of the KKR side this season, Yusuf Pathan fell the very next over. Although it was far from a miscue, some wonderful fielding from Bhuvneshwar Kumar running in, took the catch to dismiss Pathan. Suryakumar Yadav and Manish Pandey got together with their job crystal clear. They were to lead the Knight Riders out of the woods. And they did. Pandey slammed an unbelievable 36 while Yadav smashed 23 off just15 deliveries, adding 46 for the fifth wicket. However, with the pressure mounting, they fell within two overs of each other with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Moises Henriques being the beneficiaries of the wicket takers respectively.

The impressive Bhuvneshwar Kumar then went on to claim the wickets of Rajagopal Satish and Jason Holder in quick succession, with the latter’s wicket falling in the penultimate delivery of the match. The KKR innings closed on 140/8 as Gambhir’s men bid farewell to the tournament.

Brief Scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad: 162/8 in 20 overs (Yuvraj Singh 44; K Yadav 3/35)

Kolkata knight Riders: 140/8 in 20 overs (M Pandey 36; B Kumar 3/19)

Man of the Match: Moises Henriques