Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Kolkata Knight Riders opener Robin Uthappa and batsman Manish Pandey both scored spectacular half-centuries to help their side cruise past the Sunfoil Dolphins by 36 runs in Hyderabad.
Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir would have been pondering over his decision to bat first after he himself was clean bowled by Robbie Frylinck for 12 runs.
Former South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis only made six runs before he was clean bowled by Craig Alexander.
From that point on it was all Kolkata as Uthappa and Pandey amassed an unbeaten 153-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, to help their side finish on 187/2 off their 20 overs.
Uthappa ended up making 85 off 55 balls, which included 13 boundaries, while Pandey remained undefeated on 76 off 47 deliveries, which included five boundaries and five sixes.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Frylinck and Alexander picked up one wicket apiece.
Chasing 188 to win, the Dolphins got off to a poor start as opening batsman Cameron Delport was caught by Gambhir at midwicket off the bowling of Yusuf Pathan for a duck.
Cody Chetty failed to have an impact with the bat as he was caught by Sunil Narine at mid-on off the bowling of Andre Russell for one run.
Dolphins captain Morne van Wyk and Vaughan van Jaarsveld stabilised the innings with a 47-run partnership before van Jaarsveld was stumped by Uthappa off the bowling of Piyush Chawla for 19 runs.
Van Wyk went on to score 34 runs before he was caught by Pandey off the bowling of Pathan.
Khaya Zondo and Andile Phehlukwayo steered the innings back in the right direction with a 63-run partnership before Phehlukwayo was clean bowled by Narine for 37.
Frylinck only made 11 runs before he was caught by Chawla at deep midwicket off the bowling of Narine.
Narine struck again the very next ball when Zondo was also caught by Chawla at deep midwicket.
Jonathan Vandiar mustered one run before he was caught by Suryakumar Yadav at long-off off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav.
Due to the collapse of their top and middle order, the Dolphins ended up falling 36 runs short of their target.
Narine was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Pathan snapped up two and Russell, Yadav and Chawla claimed one wicket each.
Van Wyk was disappointed to have ended the tournament on a low, and said: “We had opportunities to apply our skills and we got ourselves [in a position] where we could have nailed down a couple of games, but we could not. Tonight was another opportunity. Some of us had never seen these bowlers, never played on these grounds. Back home, you play against the same guys often, and have a good idea of what you are doing. We played against teams used to their conditions. Home advantage. It was tough cricket, we learned a lot, we will be taking a lot back to South Africa. We are not going to let these losses affect our winning culture. We have a winning culture, character, a very good team and that is something we are proud of.”
Gambhir was pleased to have won the match, and said: “It was important not to be complacent. We have been chasing in the last few games and we wanted to let our batters bat with freedom without scoreboard pressure. The guys took responsibility. With dew it was getting tough for the spinners. We wanted to put our bowlers under pressure as well.”
Uthappa was named Man of the Match, and said: “I needed to get myself in, it was a good wicket, initially it was doing a bit. Manish bats the best when he plays freely, he has been hitting it really well in the last couple of weeks. Losing wickets in the first six overs, the ball was doing a bit, I understood I needed to hold one end up, I knew once Manish got in, he would play the big shots. The dew factor made it a bit difficult for our bowlers.”