Synopsis: Despite their atrocious fielding Hyderabad were propped up by crafty bowlers who ensured they overcame the handicap of rain and didn’t let the fiery knock from Warner go to waste.
With the rain whittling down Kolkata Knight Riders’ target to 118 from 12, Hyderabad needed early wickets. If only they hold on to their catches. Poor Steyn, already finding it difficult to hold his place due to competition from Trent Boult, suffered twice. He had hurled the perfect delivery to take out Robin Uthappa. It pitched on a length, drew him forward and curved away and as he has done plenty of times in his career, Uthappa had a lame poke at it. The ball was heading straight to Shikhar Dhawan at first slip but KL Rahul lunged to his left from second slip and clanged it. Poor Steyn was to suffer again. This time he had induced Gautam Gambhir to slice to third man with his extra bounce but Praveen Kumar floored a simple catch. Uthappa started to get going after the drop but luckily for Hyderabad, he fell in the middle overs and they escaped.
The intense Steyn bowled the best he has done in recent times, the dibbly dobblers Ravi Bopara and Moises Henriques did their job, and Bhuvneswar Kumar and Praveen Kumar sealed the job in the end overs. Henriques and Bopara were a bit lucky too; it was clear that Kolkata was always going to target them but Uthappa flicked Henriques straight to short fine-leg where Praveen seemed more relieved than happy that he managed to hold on to a catch. When Andre Russell was beginning to get going, he slammed a Bopara delivery straight to long-on to leave KKR to get 37 runs from 20 balls.
It was a gettable target of course but here is where Bhuvneshwar and Praveen started to take control over the proceedings. They were also helped by some insipid batting from Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan. In his pursuit of yorkers, Bhuvneshwar served up three full tosses in the 10th over but neither Pandey nor Pathan could put them away. And so it came down to 32 from 12 and Praveen Kumar sealed the game with a series of yorkers.
If you looked at the highlights package of David Warner’s 55-ball 91 it might seem that the bowlers were too short or too full at him. But attacking batsmen like Warner create those mistakes by their sheer presence, and the pressure they exert in the minds of the bowlers. There were shots all-round and against spin and seam, but it was his mini-battle against Morne Morkel that stood out. There were just 8 deliveries off which he scored 15 but there was enough drama to dwell upon. They ran into each other in the second over. The first ball was typically Morkel: bouncing off short of length, and Warner hopped back to stab it away. The third was almost similar but this time Warner was ready. The hop back was more purposeful this time and the man with the best short-arm pull in today’s cricket sent it over square-leg. Anticipating yet another Morkel short of length delivery when he faced up in the fourth over, Warner moved outside leg and punched it over covers. They met again in the 15th over. Again, Warner sidestepped outside leg stump and crashed a full delivery to point boundary. The next delivery leaped up from back of length and Warner top-edged a pull, one of the rare instances he executed that shot badly, and was out. By then, he had done enough to help Hyderabad to post 176 and even rain, D/L rule, and poor catching couldn’t thwart them.