A phenomenal knock from Yusuf Pathan, who blasted his way to a 22-ball 72, catapulted Kolkata Knight Riders to the second-place in the points table as the hosts hammered Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets in Kolkata on Saturday.
Pathan made full use of the two lives to smash the fastest fifty in IPL history as KKR knocked off a 161-run target in 14.2 overs. They had to win it in 15.2 to make it to the top-two.
Pathan enthralled the packed Eden Gardens crowd with his exceptional knock which featured seven sixes and five fours. After being dropped on naught and 15, he completed his half-century in just 15 balls.
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The result pushed Chennai Super Kings to third place and KKR will now clash with table toppers Kings XI Punjab in the first Qualifier at Eden Gardens on May 27.
Leading run-getter Robin Uthappa (41) and Gautam Gambhir (28) set up the chase before Yusuf’s blitz.
Hitting one straight to midwicket fielder Anirudha, Yusuf was on his way back to the dug out even before opening his account. But the fielder dropped a sitter. It would have been a second wicket for Karn Sharma in the over as the leggie dismissed Manish Pandey. But the miss turned around the fortunes of KKR, who were reeling 78/4 in 9.4 overs, following Uthappa and Ten Doeschate’s dismissal in the same over.
Yusuf made his intentions clear in the next over when he slammed Parvez Rasool for a six and a boundary and even got a second life when Steyn dropped him at the square leg boundary. The JK spinner gave away 22 runs in that over.
Steyn had to bear the brunt of dropping Yusuf as the biggest onslaught from the Baroda hitter came only against the South African speedster who conceded 26 runs in his last over with two sixes and three fours.
Such was Yusuf’s fury that he made the world’s no 1 bowler look sorry with a bowling sequence of 4-6-6-4-4-2. A late flourish from skipper Darren SRH skipper Darren Sammy (29) had guided Sunrisers to 160 for seven after being invited to bat. Shikhar Dhawan (29 from 31 balls) and Naman Ojha (26 from 23 balls) also contributed in team’s total.
After being put in, Dhawan and Ojha shared a quick 64-run stand from 46 balls to begin a recovery act after losing David Warner (4) in the first over.
Later SRH skipper, after getting a reprieve on zero from a butterfingered Yusuf Pathan, slammed three sixes and one four in his 19-ball 29 to push the total past 150-run mark.