Kolkata Knight Riders v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2016, Kolkata May 22, 2016

Consecutive sixes, and Warner's comeuppance

Sirish Raghavan
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Kolkata

Manish Pandey fired the opening salvos in his 87-run partnership with Yusuf Pathan, hitting consecutive sixes off Karn Sharma © BCCI

The surprise option

Prior to this match, Kane Williamson had not bowled in the five matches he had played for Sunrisers Hyderabad this season. The last time he bowled in competitive cricket was on March 18, in a World T20 Super 10 match against Australia. On that occasion, he bowled just one over and conceded three. Four overs into Kolkata Knight Riders' innings, with two left-handers at the crease, David Warner called upon Williamson's gentle offspin. The part-timer's rustiness was apparent as he sent down a couple of full tosses, but he still got away with a seven-run over.

The consecutive sixes

After scoring 22 runs in the first two overs, all of which had come off Robin Uthappa's bat, Knight Riders added just 41 in the next six overs, for the loss of three wickets. The innings was losing its early momentum. Legspinner Karn Sharma, who had bowled a tidy first over for just six runs, was up against Manish Pandey in the ninth over. The first ball was a flighted legbreak around middle and off, and Pandey slog-swept powerfully over midwicket for a big six. The ball that followed was very similar. Pandey attempted the same shot, and though it wasn't quite as well-timed, he achieved the same result. Two slogs sweeps against the turn had yielded 12 and broke Sunrisers' stranglehold. It proved to be the opening gambit in a partnership that revived Knight Riders' innings.

Cheek and punishment

When Sunil Narine was introduced in the fourth over of Sunrisers' chase, Warner made it clear that he was not going to let the spinner dictate terms. He attempted a cheeky reverse-sweep off Narine's first ball, but missed it altogether. Undeterred, he went for a full-blooded slog off the next delivery, launching the ball over wide long-on for six. Off the third ball, Warner feigned an intention to reverse-sweep before returning to his original stance. Seemingly oblivious to these antics, Narine pitched a well-flighted offbreak full and just outside leg. The batsman was beaten by the turn and the ball crashed into his leg stump. One might have said that Narine had the last laugh, except that his reaction after taking the wicket was one of poker-faced nonchalance.

The consecutive sixes (II)

By the 14th over of the chase, Knight Riders' spinners were beginning to stifle Sunrisers' batsmen. Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, playing just his second match of the season, had settled into a good rhythm. In his third over, he twice beat the bat of an increasingly frustrated Yuvraj Singh. Off the penultimate ball of the over, Yuvraj stepped out to the pitch of the ball and creamed a lofted drive over long-off for six. Kuldeep's next ball was full and outside off, allowing Yuvraj to stroke a gloriously-timed loft over extra cover for another six. The consecutive sixes took some pressure off Sunrisers, but possibly led to overconfidence on the part of Yuvraj, who holed out three balls later.

Sirish Raghavan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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