A Yusuf Pathan blitzkrieg of 22-ball 72 powered Kolkata Knight Riders to the first qualifier of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as they humbled Sunrisers Hyderabad by four wickets at the Eden Gardens here Saturday.
Needing to wrap up the game in 15.2 overs to finish second in the league stage over Chennai Super Kings after Sunrisers posted a challenging 160/7, Pathan hit the Challengers like a raging bull, taking away the game single-handedly.
He plundered seven massive sixes and five fours as the home side raced to a winning 161/6 in only 14.2 overs, and would now play the qualifier at the same ground May 27.
Pathan was out in the 14th over caught in the deep but not before making the difficult job seem like a walk in the park. He broke the record for the fastest 50 in the IPL, previously set by Adam Gilchrist.
For the visitors, leggie Karn Sharma ended up figures of 4/38.
The Knights’ openers Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa started off cautiously.
With just 26 runs on the board after the fourth over, Gambhir (28; 18b 4×4 1×6) showed his aggressive intent hoiking Jason Holder for a massive six and a four but perished in the same over by dragging the ball on to his stumps.
Meanwhile, orange cap holder Uthappa continued his dream run, picking up some crisp boundaries, but Manish Pandey (2) yet again failed with the bat and was next to go out caught off leggie Sharma.
Uthappa hit two towering sixes and a four, but the boisterous capacity Eden crowd was stunned into silence when he holed out in the deep, trying to hit another biggie of Sharma. The dashing opener scored a 30 ball 41 studded with four boundaries and two sixes.
The hosts received another jolt in the same over when Ryan ten Doeschate was run out for a duck as the scoreboard read 78/4 after 10 overs.
The stadium was brought to life by Pathan who enjoyed two reprieves but hit some lusty blows including a couple of sixes and fours of a Parvez Rasool over as KKR galloped to 100 in the 11th over.
The burly allrounder raced off to his 50 in just 15 balls as he spared none of the Hyderabad bowlers including the dreaded Steyn, clobbering him for 26 runs in an over with the help of two giant sixes and three fours.
Shakib al Hassan (1) returned cheaply, but Pathan continued to sizzle, to knock out the Sunrisers from the tournament.
Earlier put into bat, SRH started off disastrously losing big hitting opener David Warner (4) in the very first over. But a stoic 64 run partnership between Shikhar Dhawan (29; 31b 5×4) and Naman Ojha (26; 23b 5×4 1×6) provided the visitors a solid platform.
The Hyderabad outfit had almost squandered the solid foundation after a flurry of wickets in the middle overs including two run outs but a late charge by skipper Darren Sammy (29; 19b 1×4 3×6) and Jason Holder (16; 12b 2×4 1×6) took them to a challenging score.
Knight’s champion offie Sunil Narine who so far has 20 scalps to his name from 14 outings, failed to take a single wicket but was at his miserly best conceding just 19 runs in his four overs.