Knight Riders close in on play-offs

India

The Kolkata Knight Riders took a step closer to the play-offs stage of the Indian Premier League by defeating the Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets in Sunday's key fixture at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal.

The Kolkata Knight Riders took a step closer to the play-offs stage of the Indian Premier League by defeating the Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets in Sunday's key fixture at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal.

The result pushed the Knight Riders to fourth position in the eight-team standings on the back of six victories in 11 attempts, while the Sunrisers remained sixth after four in 11.

The Sunrisers, who will be captained by West Indian all-rounder Darren Sammy rather than Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan for the remainder of the tournament, posted a reasonably modest total of 142 for eight after winning the toss and opting to bat first.

Right-arm fast bowler Umesh Yadav was the pick of the bowlers, stifling the hard-hitting David Warner's threatening approach to complete Man of the Match figures of three for 26 in four fine overs.

Warner's cavalier 34 was as good as it got for the Hyderabad order, while wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha and all-rounder Irfan Pathan contributed an insufficient 22 and 23 not out respectively.

Negating the early departure of Gautam Gambhir, Kolkata's pursuit gained early momentum, T20I hopeful Robin Uthappa raced to 40 and countryman Manish Pandey complemented with a calm 35.

The big-hitting Yusuf Pathan and Netherlands international Ryan ten Doeschate were later at hand to seal the deal – with two deliveries to spare – during a quickfire, unbroken 42-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Earlier, Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's insistence that spinners bowl all but two of the 19.5 overs resulted in a tight five-wicket defeat to the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi.

Dhoni's decision was somewhat merited in conditions conducive to turn, but seamer Ishwar Pandey arguably should have entered the attack ahead of part-time slow bowler David Hussey – or leg-spinner Samuel Badree be afforded a final six deliveries.

Instead, 2014 IPL debutant Hussey conceded all of 38 runs from a delivery less than three overs. From rank long-hops to ugly full tosses, the Royal Challengers batting order capitalised to the fullest extent. There was nowhere for the Australian recruit to hide.

Monday's IPL fixtures will see the Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians clash in Ahmedabad – and the Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab meet at the Feroz Shah Kotla.

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