Sunrisers Hyderabad had not beaten Kolkata Knight Riders during the league stages of the event. As such, Gautam Gambhir's men were seen as having an edge going into the eliminator at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. But, Sunrisers rose to the occasion on the big day, and put up a competent effort with both bat and ball. Batting first, they put up just about enough runs on the board to stay in the game. Then, their excellent bowling skills also came to the fore as they restricted Kolkata. KKR had their chances in the game, but failed to grab the same.
As has been with the case so many times in the tournament, Hyderabad's bowling again came to the fore defending what was, at best, a challenging total. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was brilliant with his figures of 3 for 19. He claimed the big wicket of Manish Pandey, who was the only batsman to look in some sort of rhythm for Kolkata on the day. Kumar came up with some excellent yorkers to keep the opposition batsmen on their toes. Ben Cutting chipped in with the other big wicket of Gambhir, who made a run-a-ball 28.
It was the good all-round effort by Sunrisers in the field that made the big difference. Barinder Sran may have been expensive on the day, but claimed the big wicket of Robin Uthappa. Moises Henriques had been struggling for most part of the tournament. But, on Wednesday, he proved why Sunrisers were persisting with them. His 2 for 17 featured the big wicket of Yusuf Pathan. He had also scored a few crucial runs with the bat earlier. Yuvraj Singh also chipped in, scoring a direct hit to send back Colin Munro, and give a setback to Kolkata early.
The more significant performance from Yuvraj however came with the bat. Shikhar Dhawan fell early for Hyderabad while Henriques and skipper David Warner batted well under tough conditions. But, both were back in the hut at the stroke of the 10th over, which means only half the work was done. This is where Yuvraj brought all his experience into play and held things together. He rotated the strike and got the big hits in between. Yuvraj got good support from Deepak Hooda lower down the order, who chipped in with a crucial cameo of 21 from 13 as Hyderabad snatched the momentum.
Kolkata would be disappointed on two fronts -- one they couldn't restrict Sunrisers to under 150 after having them in trouble early on. Kuldeep Yadav, Morne Morkel and Jason Holder were among the wickets. But, while Sunil Narine kept things tight, he couldn't claim any wicket. Their batsmen then failed to stand up on the big day. Uthappa and Yusuf were their two big batsmen, but both couldn't do much. Gambhir could not convert his start, and by the time Suryakumar Yadav opened, things had gotten out of hand. Kolkata were clearly second best on the day.
--By A Cricket Analyst