IPL 2022, KKR vs SRH: Kolkata Knight Riders keep their slim hopes intact with win over Sunrisers Hyderabad
It might be hoping against hope, but the Kolkata Knight Riders are not ready to call it quits yet. The KKR bowlers' excellent work helped them exact sweet revenge on Sunrisers Hyderabad and keep them alive in this IPL by recording a 54-run victory at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Saturday.
The road ahead became more difficult for SRH as they suffered their fifth consecutive defeat.
However, the SRH bowling unit, back to its full strength with the return of T Natarajan, Marco Jansen and Washington Sundar, should also get credit for making good use of the yorker to keep the KKR big-hitters quiet after they opted to bat first on winning the toss.
But it was the 66 run sixth-wicket stand between Sam Billings and Andre Russell that actually made the difference and saw KKR putting up a fighting score of 177 for six. The West Indian all-rounder Russell came good with the ball too, finishing with three for 22.
KKR bowlers struck to a good line and length making scoring difficult for the SRH batters. With just 31 runs coming in the Powerplay, the pressure got the better of the SRH batters.
After losing skipper Kane Williamson early, Abhishek Sharma opened up with two fours off Tim Southee's first over. Sunil Narine, brought in the fourth over, was greeted with a boundary by Sharma who lifted the mystery spinner for consecutive sixes in his next over.
But with pressure building up, Sharma had to go for the big shot but ended up skying it for Billings to take a simple catch off Varun Chakravarthy.
Aiden Markram raised some hopes of an unlikely win when he hit Chakravarthy for two sixes, following up with another off Umesh Yadav's next over. But the KKR pacer had the last laugh, getting him to drag one to the stumps.
Earlier it was this IPL's sensation Umran Malik who provided SRH the edge. The 22-year-old Srinagar boy got back among wickets after going wicketless in the last three matches picking up Nitish Rana and Ajinkya Rahane in his first over with Shashank Singh taking two well-judged catches on the boundary line. He had KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer in his next over with Rahul Tripathi taking a catch low down at deep mid-wicket.
Natrajan, who looked a bit wayward in his first over, returned to pick up Rinku Singh with a beauty that caught the batter plumb in front.
The only person who could bring KKR out of such a hole was Andre Russell and the West Indian did play his part. Although not at his belligerent best, the all-rounder landed all the full tosses that he received at the stands to remain undefeated at 49 off just 28 balls that included three fours and four sixes, three of which came off Sundar's last over of the innings.
Billings too made an impact returning to the side after long before falling to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the penultimate over for a 29-ball 34. The heroics of Russell and Billings helped KKR collect 58 runs in the last five overs losing just one wicket.