The Kolkata Knight Riders defeated the Rising Pune Supergiants by two wickets on Sunday, to move to the top of the IPL standings.
Albie Morkel, playing his first match of the tournament, put on a solid all-round display for his new franchise the Supergiants, but it was his brother Morne Morkel, who had a quiet evening, to be on the winning team for the defending champions on a tense evening in Pune.
MS Dhoni’s Supergiants were sent into bat first, and it was an evening to forget for Faf du Plessis, who scored four off nine balls. His opening partner Ajinkya Rahane, however, was in fine form, smacking 67 off 52 balls. Albie and Dhoni provided the finishing touches to a fairly competitive total of 160-5, with Albie hitting two sixes in a row off Sunil Narine, before Dhoni finished unbeaten on 23 off 12. Morne conceded 17 off the final over of the innings to finish with figures of 0-30 from three overs.
Albie followed up his exploits with the bat with an excellent opening over, as he trapped Robin Uthappa lbw with the very first ball. Gautam Gambhir didn’t last too much longer either, ran out for the 18th time in his T20 career for 11.
Little-known Suryakumar Yadav then rescued the side and found a willing partner in Yusuf Pathan, as the pair put on 51 to give their side a chance. Yadav scored 60 before falling to Murugan Ashwin.
Needing 42 off the final four overs and with five wickets down, the game was in the balance. Enter Andre Russell, who hit two sixes in the 17th over. Russell wasn’t able to stick around to the end, but he ensured only seven runs were required off the final over. It was tense with five needed off four balls, but Umesh Yadav cleared the fence to seal the win.