Rising Pune Supergiants v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2016, Pune April 24, 2016

Kolkata Knight Riders batting depth delivers last-over win


Kolkata Knight Riders 162 for 8 (Suryakumar 60, Yusuf 36, Bhatia 2-19) beat Rising Pune Supergiants 160 for 5 (Rahane 67, Smith 31) by two wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Before Sunday, Kolkata Knight Riders had won three games out of three while bowling first. On Sunday, they chased again, won again, and went top of the table in a tournament where chasing teams had won 17 out of 20 matches. Chasing 161, they were coasting at 111 for 3 before they slumped dramatically, losing five wickets in 30 balls, and only sealed victory when Umesh Yadav struck a meaty straight six with five runs needed off the last four balls.

Knight Riders' slump began in the 15th over, when Rajat Bhatia's stump-to-stump line, and Yusuf Pathan's across-the-line response, ended a 51-run stand for the fourth wicket with Suryakumar Yadav. That partnership, coming on the back of Suryakumar's stands of 31 and 29 with Gautam Gambhir and Shakib Al Hasan, had taken Knight Riders to a position where they needed 50 off the last 34 balls, with six wickets in hand.

But when M Ashwin struck in the next over, defeating Suryakumar with a ripping googly, and particularly when Andre Russell - who struck two big sixes off Ankit Sharma in the 17th over - holed out to a slower ball from Thisara Perera, a one-sided contest turned into a thriller. Knight Riders kept in touch with the required rate with a boundary whenever they needed it, but they also kept losing wickets. In the end, they had Nos. 9 and 10 at the crease when Umesh slogged Perera high over long-on.

In his post-match interview, MS Dhoni said he was happy with Supergiants' total of 160, and thought his spinners had given the match away by bowling too full on a slow pitch offering plenty of turn. There were six sixes hit off the Supergiants spinners, and all six came off balls that were in the slot for lofted hits.

It was a definite contrast to the way the Knight Riders spinners had operated, largely bowling just short of a good length, and extracting generous turn that made it hard to hit down the ground or against the break.

Ajinkya Rahane came into the match with two half-centuries in his last four innings, and demonstrated his silky form with an effortless flicked six off Morne Morkel in the third over of the Supergiants innings, and two fours off the next six balls he faced.

The introduction of Shakib Al Hasan, in the fourth over, revealed the extent of turn available, as he straightened one from wide of the crease to clip Faf du Plessis' off stump. With Shakib bowling three overs by the end of the eighth over, and Gambhir introducing Piyush Chawla early as well, Rahane and Steven Smith spent a fair amount of time negotiating balls turning away from them, and sharply at that. They were busy in this period, working the ball into gaps and running frantically, and had put on 56 in 8.2 overs when Smith was needlessly run out, backing up too far down the pitch.

Dhoni sent in the left-handed Perera and Albie Morkel ahead of him, and they both made cameos, hitting three sixes between them to lift the run rate alongside Rahane, who hit a couple of sixes as well, off Chawla and Umesh in the 16th and 17th over.

Rahane's dismissal at the start of the 18th over brought in Dhoni, and the Supergiants captain punished a wayward Morne Morkel in the final over, pulling him for six and four either side of a whipped boundary manufactured off a leg-stump yorker. Supergiants had taken 17 off the last over, and 70 off the last six.

Albie, playing his first match for Supergiants, showed he had a fair idea of how to bowl on this pitch when he struck with his first ball, a slower offcutter that clanged into Robin Uthappa's front pad in front of off stump. But his brother Morne's tendency to bowl short also rubbed off on him, and Gambhir and Suryakumar hit him for three fours over the remainder of an eventful first over.

When Albie overcompensated and fed Suryakumar two overpitched balls in the third over, Knight Riders were racing along at 29 for 1. But they lost Gambhir against the run of play, when he turned for a non-existent second run, and Supergiants were back in the contest.

With M Ashwin and Ankit forming an inexperienced two-thirds of Supergiants' spin attack, Dhoni needed R Ashwin to be at his best. But it wasn't his day. Introduced in the fourth over, he struggled to find the right line, length and pace to bowl on this pitch. He bowled three leg-side wides that spun from outside off stump, fed two balls in Suryakumar's six-hitting slot, went around the wicket to try and change his luck, and did all of this in the space of two overs.

Two overs was all he would bowl. Dhoni ignored opportunities to use him outside the Powerplay, perhaps unwilling to use him against a succession of right-handed Knight Riders batsmen, but it showed, not for the first time in recent months, a lack of trust in a proven, experienced spinner.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • john on April 26, 2016, 12:27 GMT

    Suryakumar Yadav played a brilliant innings and should be in the Kolkata Knight Riders side on a regular basis over other over-payed stars like Shakib Al Hasan and Jason Holder. As this season goes on we are going to find out how useless Mahendra Singh Dhoni is and how unfit to be Indian ODI and T20i captain he is.

  • garryj1317705 on April 26, 2016, 8:00 GMT

    umesh yadav six was fantabulous

  • Bala Gopal on April 25, 2016, 20:30 GMT

    Comments about MSD and CSK getting a 'readymade winning team' here are funny. Raina was with CSK since the inaugural season. CSK were mocked when they picked Nehra and no one gave an iota of chance for him to succeed. Faf was picked using right to match card. Vijay made it to national side only after playing for CSK. Smith was taken after he was unsold. Give MSD and CSK half the credit for the success. In this season RPS is so unbalanced to say the least. The initial core team of 5 was picked by owners and not the coaching staff and the owners messed the team selection by picking Rahane, Faf and Steve Smith in successive rounds. Selections were unplanned and stupid. And during the auction, coaching team were forced to pick the players whoever was left in the bag.

  • niaz on April 25, 2016, 19:12 GMT

    IPL was rigged when CSK had half the players of indian national team and half the players of world T20 eleven. Dhoni is not as good as people think. He just had a lot of great bowlers. A random number generator would make the right decision when you have Nehra, Mohit, Bravo, Ashwin and Jadeja all bowling at their best. Whatever run the opponents score, Bazz, Raina, Fuf, Hussey/Smith, Dhoni can score 20 runs above the par.

  •   Kazi Rashid on April 25, 2016, 14:45 GMT

    BBN I agree only 4 international allowed in 1 team but you seem to be another Dhoni Fan if you check ashwin line it was around middle and leg line so it has to be given wide

  • Amindha on April 25, 2016, 14:25 GMT

    That law only applies for balls pitching outside leg stump @karnamgiridhar. :)

  • Giridhar on April 25, 2016, 13:21 GMT

    Can somebody clarify? Usually i understand that anything that pitches outside off or leg stump and turns umpires don't give lbw. Suryakumar's lbw decision was not criticized by any as it was way outside off stump and turning sharply. Is my understanding wrong?

  • R on April 25, 2016, 13:09 GMT

    Pune's real problem is that they start slowly. Rahane has a strike rate of about 110 which is okay if his job is to hold one end & free up the other for players to attack. This is not happening .The top order Rahane, Faf, Steve Smith are all slow scorers and the team needs some attacking batsmen especially now when KP is out. One way could be to have Saurabh Tiwary at no. 3 with instructions to go after the bowling. Dhoni's unwillingness to use Ashwin is also putting a lot of pressure on the team. Ashwin is his best bowler but he keeps underbowling him creating doubts in the bowler's mind as well.

  • Krishen on April 25, 2016, 12:59 GMT

    It is quite amusing to find comments by some students of captaincy against the best ever professor of captaincy in cricket history- MSD. Despite skipping easy 40+ international matches, the staggering 170+ victories in international matches including 3 world titles, 2 IPL & 2 CPL titles by MSD as captain remain unmatched in world cricket. RPS may have erred in failing to pick a top all-rounder (Watson/ Faulkner) at pre-auction stage. Thereafter the resources picked during auction stage also seem to have major deficiency in fielding, a key skill in cricket. Unlike previous IPL seasons, with a new team MSD had to experiment to find a strong combination. RPS now have missed opportunity of 2 straight wins in matches v RCB & KKR through fielding / bowling errors. RPS need to pick Smith, faf, Marsh/Morkel & Perara as overseas players. R Ashwin & Ishant need to spear head the spin / fast bowling attacks. RPS need to step up as they still have chance to finish in top half of points table.

  • sowmi on April 25, 2016, 12:45 GMT

    We tend to get influenced by the IPL and pick our India players based on these performaces. Gambhir was dropped after a long run of poor form in test cricket both at home and away. He was drafted back in to the team after a good IPL and was a failure in the England tour. Robin Uthappa averages 25 in 46 ODIs for India and only has a first class average of 40. Somebody like a Manish Pandey or a Shreyas Iyer who have good first class records deserve a chance.

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