Kolkata: A double header on a Saturday turned out to be a day of some dominant cricket in the Indian Premier League as the Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad went past their respective opponents, Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab with great ease.
In the first game at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, home team skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and opted to bowl first. Young Delhi openers- Sanju Samson(60) and Karun Nair (15) went after the bowling from the beginning itself as they raced to 48 runs in just 4.5 overs before the latter was trapped in front of the wicket by Sunil Narine.
Shreyas Iyer (47) another young batting talent joined forces with Samson to put up a huge total on the board but Nathan Coulter-Nile brilliantly tied things up at the end as he got rid of the dangerous looking Iyer, Rishabh Pant (6) and Chris Morris (11). Delhi ended their innings at 160/6.
In reply, it was again the Gambhir-Uthappa show as they notched up yet another century stand and further strengthened their case for a comeback in the Indian ODI setup for the Champions Trophy. Sunil Narine (4) fell quite early but skipper Gambhir (71*) and Uthappa (59) made sure that the target was reached easily at the end.
Uthappa, in particular, was the more dominant among the two as he tonked four classy sixes and scored his second consecutive fifty in the tournament. Despite Manish Pandey (5) missing out to score, debutant Sheldon Jackson helped KKR cross the line easily with 22 balls to spare.
This dominant performance cements their top spot at the top of the league table and makes it really easy for them to go through to the playoffs.
Sunrisers win by 26 runs
In the other match, held at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad outplayed the Kings XI Punjab by 26 runs as they went on to register their first away win this IPL.
Batting first, Hyderabad skipper David Warner was absolutely at his destructive best as he bludgeoned the bowlers to all corners of the park and scored a magnificent 51 from just 24 balls. His opening partner, Shikhar Dhawan too played a timely and wonderful innings of 77. However it was Kane Williamson( 54*) whose ability to score runs freely got the Hyderabad total to a massive 207/3.
In response, Martin Guptill, who was playing in the KXIP colours for the first time scored a quickfire 23 before wickets started to tumble. Shaun Marsh (84) played a good solid innings but a victory wasn’t there for the home side as none of the batsmen took responsibility to score big. The other best batmen were Eoin Morgan (26) Axar Patel (16) and Anureet Singh (15).
With this win, Sunrisers Hyderabad are now at the third position with 11 points no doubts. Kings XI, who are placed too like Bangalore, need a mountain to climb if the need to go through to the playoffs.
Delhi Daredevils 160/6 (Sanju Samson 60, Shreyas Iyer 47; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3/34) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 161/3 in 16.2 overs (Gautam Gambhir 71*, Robin Uthappa 59; Kagiso Rabada 2/20) by seven wickets.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (Shikhar Dhawan 77, Kane Williamson 54 ; Glenn Maxwell 2/29) beat Kings XI Punjab (Shaun Marsh 84, Eoin Morgan 26 ; Siddharth Kaul 3/36) by 26 to runs.