Chasing Kolkata’s modest total of 138-8, Sunrisers’ win was set up by a composed knock of 50 from captain Kane Williamson.
Earlier Hyderabad seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 3-26 while fellow quick Billy Stanlake took 2-21 as Kolkata struggled to cross the 130-run mark.
LYNN GETS GOING
Kolkata opener Chris Lynn was off the boil in the first two games. But he was bound to find the middle of the bat at some point. That happened on Saturday as he hit seven boundaries and a six during a 34-ball 49. The surface at the Eden Gardens was two-paced with encouragement for pace and spin. The next best was captain Dinesh Karthik’s 29 off 27. Without Lynn, the score would have been a lot closer to 100 than 150.
What a good buy big Billy Stanlake has been for @SunRisers. Pace and bounce, even in T20, is invaluable— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 14, 2018
HYDERABAD KNUCKLE DOWN
Hyderabad seamers Bhuvneshwar (3-26) and Siddarth Kaul (1-37) used the knuckle ball generously towards the death overs, given the sluggish nature of the wicket. Bhuvneshwar got the scalps of Shubman Gill (3) and captain Dinesh Karthik (29) while Kaul accounted for tail-ender Shivam Mavi (7) with their variation of the knuckle ball.
Their wickets came in handy on a day when leg-spinner Rashid Khan didn’t get any – 0-31.
KANE LEADS THE CHARGE
With most batsmen struggling for timing, Hyderabad captain Williamson relied on singles and twos to accumulate his runs. The Kiwi hit four boundaries and a six during his 44-ball 50. Compare that to opener Wriddhiman Saha who hit five boundaries during his innings of 24.
Williamson got out with 20 runs needed to win but Yusuf Pathan (17 off seven) ensured there were no hiccups as Sunrisers registered their first ever win at the Eden Gardens.
Kings XI are being led by spinner Ravi Ashwin, who had earlier expressed his disappointment at not being signed up by his city’s franchise.
Chennai enter the match high on confidence, having won their opening encounter by one wicket against Mumbai Indians followed by victory over Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets chasing 203.
Injuries are piling up for Chennai Super Kings. Suresh Raina (calf injury) and Kedar Jadhav (hamstring) have been benched and that has put their middle order under pressure. Sam Billings was the star during their chase of 203 against Kolkata but dwindling batting resources will start to take its toll.
Punjab will be relying on their spin twins – Ashwin and Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman – to keep the Chennai batsmen quiet. In the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab started off with three spinners and they might be inclined to continue with that strategy in the absence of out-and-out pace bowlers.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
Punjab opener KL Rahul has been in particularly aggressive mode in this year’s IPL. His opening two knocks – 51 off 16 and 47 off 30 – show that he wants to prove to the Indian team management that he deserves to bat up the order in limited-overs cricket.
Chennai captain MS Dhoni struggled in the high-scoring match against Kolkata. The skipper crawled to 25 from 28 balls while everyone else batted at well over a run a ball. If he fails again and Chennai lose, questions will be raised about his batting.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir
India’s Under-19 fast bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti was ruled out of the IPL following a foot injury. The Kolkata Knight Riders bowler had picked up the niggle before the start of the tournament and was being monitored by the Knight Riders.
They had a replacement ready in the form of Karnataka fast bowler Prasidh Krishna in case Nagarkoti’s injury turned out be serious. On Saturday, it was confirmed Nagarkoti will miss the IPL, which is a big blow to the star bowler of India’s victorious U-19 World Cup campaign.
Nagarkoti made waves after being consistently clocked at over 145kph during the tournament. The IPL was his big opportunity to grab the attention of senior team selectors but that won’t happen now.
The 18-year-old has joined a long list of genuine fast bowlers who are not taking part in the 11th edition of the IPL.
MITCHELL STARC (LEG)
The Kolkata Knight Riders quick was supposed to be the leader of the pack as the Eden Gardens has become conducive to pace bowling. But the Aussie quick pulled out of the tournament due to a stress fracture in his right leg.
PAT CUMMINS (BACK)
The Aussie quick seemed to have put his injury scares behind him by playing 13 consecutive Tests. Bowling at his absolute best, Cummins was set for a bumper IPL for Mumbai Indians but swelling in his vertebrae ended his IPL dreams.
KAGISO RABADA (BACK)
The South African quick was another pacer expected to set the stage on fire in IPL 2018. But the Delhi Daredevils never arrived, pulling out of the tournament due to a ‘lower back stress reaction’.
List of Injured players of #IPL2018— IPL2018 (@Ipl11army) April 14, 2018
Nathan Coulter Nile (RCB)
Pat Cummins (MI)
Kedar Jadhav (CSK)
Kagiso Rabada (DD)
Zahir Khan Pakteen (RR)
Mitchell Starc (KKR)
Mitchell Santner (CSK)
Jason Behrendorff (MI)
Kamlesh NagarKoti (KKR)#KKR #MIvDD #ESAMatchDay #AmbedkarJayanti
NATHAN COULTER-NILE (BACK)
The Aussie quick, picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore, failed to recover from a stress fracture to his back and hasn’t played any competitive cricket since November.
LUNGI NGIDI (BEREAVEMENT)
The South Africa pacer, playing for Chennai Super Kings, left the country on Saturday following the death of his father. Ngidi’s father Jerome had watched his son make waves in the Tests against India and Australia.
JASON BEHRENDORFF (BACK)
Mumbai Indians had put a lot of faith in the Australian pacer but Behrendorff failed to recover from a serious back injury and was ruled out of IPL 2018.