Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 3 for 26 © AFP
Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 3 for 26 © AFP

After a thriller at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai — where Mumbai Indians (MI) lost their third encounter in a row in the last over — the focus shifted to Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Kolkata Knight Riders are hosting table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad, with three of their former players in the opposition camp. Electing to bowl first (that has been the trend in the current edition), SRH bowlers prevented KKR from going overboard. KKR now need to defend 138 to beat SRH, always a tough ask.

KKR commenced proceedings with Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa. There was no Sunil Narine at the top, perhaps to keep him away from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and an in-form Billy Stanlake. The move backfired as Uthappa failed, while Lynn did not look at his best. KKR lost Uthappa to an edge off Bhuvi before rain halted proceedings for around an hour with KKR on 52 for 1 after 7 overs.

There was no loss of over when play resumed. The break led to a loss of momentum for Nitish Rana. He fell for a 16-ball 18 courtesy Manish Pandey’s blinder. Pandey (or Pandi, as pronounced by Michael Clarke) wasn’t done yet. He took a stunner, running behind, to dismiss Lynn (49), who was just getting into his groove.

Narine, demoted to No. 4, didn’t do much damage, and was dismissed for a 10-ball 9. Then Shakib Al Hasan choked the run flow, not letting the pressure off after the excellent start provided by Bhuvi and Stanlake. The SRH fielders rose to the task admirably as well. Much was expected of Shubman Gill, but he perished for 3, going for a big hit.

Dinesh Karthik took it upon himself to add some handy runs in the last 2 overs. He managed a 27-ball 29 before being outplayed by Bhuvi. A mediocre total, 138 for 8, shouldn’t challenge an in-form SRH. But with Narine, Russell, Mitchell Johnson and Kuldeep Yadav handling the bowling workload, anything is possible.

Brief scores

Kolkata Knight Riders 138 for 8 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 49, Nitish Rana 18, Dinesh Karthik 29; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3 for 26, Billy Stanlake 2 for 21, Shakib Al Hasan 2 for 21) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad