Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav sizzled with the ball as two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders rode on its spin attack to advance into the play-offs of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) with a 22-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Kolkata on Sunday.
Defending a 172-run target on a slow and turning Eden Gardens pitch, Narine (3/26) returned his best figures of the season and was ably supported by left-arm chinaman Yadav (2/28) as Sunrisers could only muster 149 for eight.
Both KKR and Sunrisers finished their campaign on 16 points from 14 games, which was enough for both the teams to qualify for the play-offs.
Chasing a stiff 172 to win, Sunrisers started brightly with Shikhar Dhawan (51 off 30 balls) striking his fourth half-century of the season which was studded with four boundaries and three sixes.
Even though Sunrisers skipper David Warner (18) was cleaned up by Narine in the fourth over, Dhawan looked in ominous touch before young Yadav triggered the collapse dismissing the left-handed batsman.
It was a masterstroke from KKR captain Gautam Gambhir to bring the rookie chinaman spinner into the squad in place of Piyush Chawla as Yadav, who was playing his second match after more than a month’s gap, did not disappoint.
With the asking rate climbing, a well-set Dhawan departed immediately after completing his fifty while trying to sweep Yadav only to give a simple catch to Colin Munro at deep midwicket.
Four balls later, Naman Ojha (15) perished to Narine but Yuvraj Singh (19) kept Sunrisers in the hunt, smacking Yadav for two successive sixes in the next over.