Knight Riders v Sunrisers, IPL 2014, Kolkata May 24, 2014

Yusuf smashes fastest fifty to power KKR to second


Kolkata Knight Riders 161 for 6 (Yusuf 72, Uthappa 41) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 160 for 7 (Dhawan 29, Sammy 29) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Isa Guha: Situation was made for Yusuf

There were 321 runs in 34.2 overs, and it was hard to say by the end of it if there had been more runs off the middle of the bat or its edges. There were dropped catches, run-outs, run-outs arising from dropped catches, and, in the middle of all this, a mad dash to make up a net-run-rate deficit. For most part, the match had been a comedy of errors, but by the time it ended, it was a genuine Twenty20 classic.

Kolkata Knight Riders needed to chase 161 to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad. They needed to do it in 15.2 overs to knock Chennai Super Kings off second place, and get two shots at reaching the final. When Yusuf Pathan walked in, they needed 106 from 47 balls. He was dropped before he had scored a run. He was dropped again when he was on 15. Neither was a difficult chance.

And then, out of nowhere, it all came together for him. Till today, Adam Gilchrist had held the record for the fastest IPL fifty. It had come off 17 balls. When Yusuf mowed Dale Steyn over deep midwicket for the fifth six of his innings, he had reached 50 in 15 balls. He took 26 off that over - 4, 6, 6, 4, 4, 2. By the time Yusuf holed out for 72 off 22 balls, the equation had come down to less than a run a ball. Knight Riders beat Sunrisers with 34 balls left to play. They beat Super Kings to second with a cushion of six balls.

The defeat knocked Sunrisers out of the tournament, leaving Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals to battle it out for fourth on Sunday. Sunrisers started the game with only a small chance of qualifying. Their selections - they left out Aaron Finch, and played Jason Holder and S Anirudha, neither of whom had played a match for them this season - and the general quality of their play only made it even more improbable. In the end, they were left needing to bowl Knight Riders out for 23 to overhaul Royals' net run rate.

Knight Riders' ask wasn't that improbable, but it could be argued that they made it harder for themselves than it could have been on a pitch that offered the quicker bowlers bounce and seam movement. After they opted to bowl, their three seamers, particularly Morne Morkel, extracted plenty of both, but they also sprayed it around.

After Morkel had bowled David Warner with the second ball of the match, Shikhar Dhawan and Naman Ojha put on 64 in 46 balls. Neither batsman looked convincing at the crease, and both interspersed boundary hits with plays-and-misses. Dhawan had five fours in his 31-ball 29, but also 18 dot balls. All of Ojha's 26 runs came in boundaries. His innings contained six scoring shots and 17 dots.

The remainder of Sunrisers' innings was just as low on cricketing quality, and full of incident. There were two dropped catches, three run-outs, and the furrow on Gautam Gambhir's brow grew wider and deeper with each top-edged slog that flew to the boundary. Even before the match had begun, Knight Riders had known roughly that they were in for a 15-over chase. A target of 131 would have required them to finish in 15.1 overs, a target of 201 in 15.3. It was up to them to keep Sunrisers to as low a total as possible.

As they began their chase of 161, Gambhir and Robin Uthappa had to contend with some early help for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Steyn. They only scored seven off the first two overs, before they kicked into gear. Gambhir gave Bhuvneshwar the charge, Uthappa leaned into a couple of drives, and 13 came off the over.

It still looked difficult, though, and after Gambhir went, Uthappa and Manish Pandey ate up 17 balls in scoring 12 runs. Knight Riders then lost both Uthappa and Ryan ten Doeschate in the same over, and second place looked out of question. Had Anirudha at wide long-on or Steyn at deep square leg held on when Yusuf launched balls more or less straight at them, it would have been all over. They didn't, though.

And so, Parvez Rasool ended up conceding 22 off the only over he bowled. Yusuf hit a big six over cow corner, edged a slog thickly to the third-man boundary, hit another six off Steyn's palms, and found the long-on ropes via a fumble from Jason Holder. Two more sixes came off the next over, bowled by Karn Sharma. By now, Yusuf was hitting it cleanly, right out of the screws.

When Steyn began the 13th over, Knight Riders needed 45 off 20. Could he stop Yusuf? He couldn't. The first ball was clubbed back past him for four, the next two launched high and long for six. Steyn dug the next one in short, and Yusuf pulled him for four. Fifth ball, Yusuf slogged and edged another four past the keeper. This was now Steyn's most expensive over in the IPL. Steyn had applauded when AB de Villiers had launched an astonishing assault on him earlier in the season. Now, as the Eden Gardens became pure noise, his face froze into a pale, disbelieving grin.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kondrasu on May 26, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    Why the hell on the earth, Anirudha Srikanth was bought into playing XI, When they need to win with a big margin?????

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    i would say no words to explain Pathan.. and please guys don't criticize shakib he have done enough for KKR with bat and ball as allrounder doesn't always mean he should bat well but he did. One performance can make a MAN HERO or ZERO yusuf was dropped off 0 but he became the hero… but we shall all be honest yusuf have down a lot of times this.. his 100 off just 37 why don't we remember it wasn't a flat track either it was south african pitch top class batsmens fails there to score.

  • Shah on May 25, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Why won't we stand up on Shakib's both ups & downs because its simply part of the game & no one can play well in all the matches & that is with both bat & bowl as he is a all rounder, he performed either with the bowl or bat but he did being in much pressure & in this match better check his bowling figures also & he would at least have two wickets & even give another 10 runs less surely if Yousuf had not drop big hitter Sammy's catch..bowling maiden overs in T20 matches is not as easy as you watch you need that hell of a accuracy! nothing to over rate Shakib here like many other fans does to their dearest players! but KKR got to know who they were missing before it was too late to build a greater KKR team!

  • anwar on May 25, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    some people don't even know what is consistency . .they criticize shakib . .and more astonishingly they say that yusuf has done enough to get another chance in national team . .ha ha ha . .

  • anwar on May 25, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    how ridiculous some people are saying . .how do you think shakib's performance was bad yesterday . .he bowled 4 overs and got 1 wicket only for 25 runs . .this is of course very good figure . .it could have been even better you know how . .and he got out in the last bowl of that over . .he was supposed to give back the strike to yusuf every time . .so what else he could do was just defending the bowl . .he decided to help the team so he tried to go big . .some people are really . . . .

  • Android on May 25, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    thts the spirit shskib fans...all i wanted his u guys to wakeup in his bsd innings as well bec as fan u guys stood in hs bad innings as well..not nly praisiiln whn he do sme knock.. tht u guys want him to get mom award fr evry innings he played... no doubt he is one of best alrounder in world ... but ovrrated fan club mskes him hate by othrs...

  • Shipu on May 25, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    KKR are in the form of their lives and although King 11 Punjab are leading the table with ease, KKR is still the team of the tournament thus far. I say that because of their unsettled selection earlier in this seasons IPL and 2 bizarre games against RR which KKR really should've won.

    And to Shakib critics what's the problem still? did you know Shakib right now is the 8th most valuable player in this IPL? and look at the players above him played 3 extra games than Shakib otherwise he probably would'e been 5th or more. Doesn't matter what you say now lol Shakib is a very good genuine all-rounder. Probably would've been ranked 3rd most valuable had he gotten to bat in his usual T20 position of 3/4 and played all the games if you think about it.

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    @Raghu Poojary, just some bad innings does not make him bad . He bowled very nicely, and because Yusuf pathan dropped Sammy off shakib's bowling, Sammy was able to hit 19 runs in shakib's over. Had that catch been taken, Shakib would have taken more wickets . And yes Shakib is 8 most Valueable player despite playing only 11 matches and he is still at 8th , the players who are above him and some below him have Played MORE than 13 matches, he played only 11 matches still he is on 8th . Now please check it on ipl website , if u dont believe me.

  • Shah on May 25, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    @ANDROID_USER: what about Gautam what did he do by playing every matches 3 ducks in a row & then just 1 run in his 4th match & still trying to find his form consistently LOL...tell me which IND'n all rounder or a foreign all rounder did the most for KKR in this IPL other than the only BD player Shakib LOL! & the time went for the slog it was needed being in much pressure with 4 down & KKR's target was to chase it down by within 15 overs to lift them to 2nd place...lets talk about the most surprising batting of Yousuf & what he did really to mention other than this match only but still he & gautam was in the team LOL!

  • Android on May 25, 2014, 11:27 GMT

    i surprised y shakib fans are silent batting from him..he knw nly to slog balls irrespectv of situation..

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