Uthappa, Shakib guide KKR to victory

2014-05-21 00:00

ROBIN Uthappa and Shakib Al Hasan batted superbly to guide the Kolkata Knight Riders to an eight-wicket victory, with 12 balls to spare, over the Chennai Super Kings in an Indian Premier League clash at Eden Gardens yesterday.

Chasing a target of 153 runs in 20 overs, Kolkata cantered to 156 for two with two full overs remaining after Chennai, who were sent into bat first, scored 154 for four thanks mainly to Suresh Raina (65).

But the day belonged to Uthappa and Shakib Al Hasan who demolished the Super Kings’ bowling attack. Uthappa gave the hosts the perfect start, smashing 10 boundaries and one six in his innings of 67 off just 39 balls.

Uthappa used his fortune to great effect as he was given a life by Ravichandran Ashwin with his score on six. Ben Hilfenhaus (0-38) found the outside edge of Uthappa’s bat and the ball flew to Ashwin in the slip cordon. Ashwin was unable to hold onto a simple catch, which ultimately cost his side dearly.

Shakib Al Hasan continued from where Uthappa left off after the right-handed opener was caught at long-off by Faf du Plessis from the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja (1-23), striking six boundaries and two maximums in an undefeated 21-ball knock of 46.

Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir launched the chase in perfect fashion, adding 64 runs for the first wicket off just 44 deliveries before the veteran left-handed Gambhir edged a ball from Ishwar Pandey (1-31) onto his stumps. The breakthrough did not quell the fire in the Knight Riders’ belly as Uthappa and Manish Pandey (18 not out) added 34 for the second wicket before Uthappa fell. Shakib Al Hasan saw to it that they would gather as much profit in terms of net run rate that they could get as he orchestrated an undefeated third-wicket partnership of 58 off 38 balls to take KKR home.

Only Aswhin held his head high on the bowling front, returning figures of 4-0-24-0, despite dropping Uthappa in the first over.

Earlier, Raina scored his second consecutive half century when he struck three boundaries and five maximums in a 52-ball knock of 67.

Raina found support in Faf du Plessis (28) as the pair shared in a third-wicket partnership of 62 from only 37 deliveries. Du Plessis was the perfect foil for Raina, rotating the strike easily which allowed Raina the freedom to extend his arms.

Kolkata remain fourth on the table behind the Rajasthan Royals on net run rate after the victory. Both sides are now just two points behind the Super Kings with two games left in the group stage.

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