The Sunrisers thus ended the league stage of the tournament on 20 points, two ahead of fifth-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore, who were hoping for a Kolkata victory to sneak their way in.
Chasing a lowly 131 for victory was never going to be a daunting task, especially the way the two openers played. But a flurry of wickets in the latter half of the innings ensured a nail-biting finish, which was culminated with back-to-back sixes from the blade of Darren Sammy.
Parthiv began the Sunrisers’ innings in his typical fashion, going over the top with cuts, flicks and pulls that fetched easy boundaries in the Powerplay overs. SRH raced their way to 45 in the first six overs of the fielding restrictions, which were capped by a slog over deep mid-wicket by Dhawan off Yusuf Pathan.
Dhawan had taken his time to get going, letting Parthiv do the majority of the scoring, but that six set him loose. One of the shots of the tournament came in the eighth over of the innings, bowled by Jacques Kallis. The South African medium-fast bowler bowled short and wide of off-stump, to which Dhawan stepped down, hopped on one leg and cut magnificently over deep point for half a dozen. Another boundary was scored on the very next delivery as Dhawan targeted the extra-cover fence off a fuller delivery and Kallis ended up going for 13 in his first.
By the time the first Strategic Timeout was taken after the ninth over, with the Sunrisers cruising along at 74 for no loss, two-and-a-half minutes of stoppage were far too less for the Knight Riders to mastermind a turnaround. Or were they?
Iqbal Abdulla trapped both the openers plumb in front soon after, followed by which Cameron White was denied a quick run by partner Hanuma Vihari after the former was halfway down the crease, and was run out. From 89 for no loss, SRH had slipped to 103 for three within the space of three overs.
KKR cranked up the pressure, deploying three close-in fielders for the spinners and, soon enough, Vihari went for the big swipe over mid-wicket off Abdulla and ended up getting a thick outside edge towards short third-man where Paras Dogra took an easy catch.
From 33 required off 42 balls, the equation soon reduced to 23 off the last 18. Shami Ahmed then fired in the yorkers and eventually dislodged Thisara Perera’s bails as the SRH dugout bit a few more nails.
However, Sammy and Biplab Samantray held their nerves and took their team home with seven balls to spare. The West Indian set of wild celebrations at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium with two successive sixes over long-off to punish Abdulla’s audacity.
Earlier, Yusuf Pathan saved KKR the blushes with an unbeaten 29-ball 49, including three boundaries and as many sixes, and set SRH a target of 131.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Kolkata lost wickets at regular intervals and at one point, it didn’t seem like they would cross even 120. However, Yusuf embarked on a late blitz after coming in at No 5, including hitting Dale Steyn (two for 24) for a massive six over long-on and then urged the partisan Hyderabad crowd to applaud. Steyn took it in good humour and applauded the batsman too, but Yusuf didn’t appear to have taken it very well as a few words were exchanged between the two.
Yusuf bided his time at the crease well and helped KKR put on 30 runs in the last three overs to take them to a defendable, if not imposing, total. Unfortunately for the burly Baroda man, it wasn’t to be enough.
Kolkata Knight Riders 130 for 7 in 20 overs (Yusuf Pathan 49*, Jacques Kallis 24; Dale Steyn 2 for 24, Anand Rajan 1 for 16) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad 132 for 5 in 18.5 overs (Parthiv Patel 47, Shikhar Dhawan 42; Iqbal Abdulla 3 for 29) by 5 wickets.