A 34-ball 52 not out from Yusuf Pathan propelled Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a challenging 171/6 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL encounter at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
Yusuf and Manish Pandey (48 off 30) forged a 77-run stand in just 8.1 overs to help Kolkata put up a challenging total in their must-win tie.
For Hyderabad, medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and spinner Deepak Hooda picked up two wickets each, while medium pacers Mustafizur Rahman and Barinder Sran took a wicket apiece.
Asked to bat, KKR got off to a flying start with Robin Uthappa playing some of his trademark cover drives. He first smashed Bhuvneshwar Kumar for three boundaries in the very first over and then smacked Barinder Sran for another.
The men in purple were moving ahead at a steady pace but suddenly Uthappa tried to chip down the track and hit Sran. He only managed to top edge the delivery which landed safely in the palms of Kane Williamson.
New batsman Colin Munro (10) then clubbed two more to the ropes but fell to a needless shot with the score reading 48/2 at the end of the powerplay.
Gambhir, who had slowly crawled his way to 16, tried to up the scoring rate with a chip over the top but failed to clear the man at long off.
Just when it looked like KKR would again struggle, Yusuf joined hands with Pandey.
The latter started off by sweeping leg-spinner Karn Sharma for two consecutive sixes and then helped the Knights go past the 100-run mark in the 13th over.
Yusuf got into the act as well by clubbing Karn for back-to-back overboundaries as the 14th over yielded 19 runs.
The onslaught continued for a little longer as KKR managed to amass 144 runs by the 16th but then Pandey fell.
Jason Holder (3) followed Pandey to the dug out and the wickets put a brake on the scoring rate. In the 18th and 19th over KKR only managed nine runs.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders: 171/6 (Yusuf Pathan 52, Manish Pandey 48; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2-31, Deepak Hooda 2-16) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad.