Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan`s fighting half-century went in vain as Kolkata Knight Riders produced a clinical performance to beat a struggling Deccan Chargers by 20 runs in an Indian Premier League match.
Chasing 170 for victory, Deccan lost their first four wickets for 70 runs before Dhawan (54 off 45) and Dwaraka Ravi Teja (30 off 22) stitched 55 runs off 31 balls to keep the home team in the loop.
However, it was not enough as Knight Riders eventually restricted Deccan to 149 for six. For KKR, Rajat Bhatia (2/26) and left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah (2/34) scalped two wickets apiece.
Earlier, Yusuf Pathan cashed in on two missed chances to hit a quickfire 47 and power KKR to a challenging 169 for four.
Pathan took his chances and used his long-handle to great effect to score a breezy unbeaten 47 that came off just 26 deliveries after being handed out two lives by butterfingered Deccan fielders.
The explosive right-hander struck three fours and as many sixes during his unconquered knock and together with in-form Manoj Tiwary (33 off 28)) added 80 runs of just eight overs for the fourth wicket to lay the foundation for the KKR score
after being sent into bat.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir (35 off 22) and Jacques Kallis (30 off 31) also made useful contribution up the order to set the base for Pathan and Tiwary to explode.
Deccan bowlers had a horrible outing today with Daniel Christian (1/39), Dale Steyn (1/31), Pragyan Ojha (1/32) and Amit Mishra (1/22) all going for runs.
With this win, KKR zoomed to the top of the team standings with 12 points from nine matches while Deccan are at the seventh position with six points from as many games.
Openers -- Sunny Sohal and Shikhar Dhawan -- gave a racy start to Deccan chase, piling up 38 runs off the first five overs before Abdullah came up with twin blows to put a brake on the home team.
Sohal was the aggressive among the duo, hitting three fours en route to his 26 runs that came off 20 balls but in search of one too many he cut a Abdullah delivery straight to Morgan at cover point in the third ball of sixth over.
A ball later, Abdullah got the vital wicket of Deccan skipper Kumar Sangakkara for a duck as he chipped one to Kallis at mid-wicket.
After Abdullah, it was Rajat Bhatia who struck twice in an over to see Deccan slump to 70 four four after 11 overs.
Cameron White`s misery with the bat continued as he became first of Bhatia`s victim, bowled with a gem of a slower leg-cutter.
Three balls later, Bhatia was lucky to get Daniel Christian lbw even as replays showed the batsman got an inside edge onto the pads.
But Dhawan and Ravi Teja raised some hopes for Deccan with a half-century stand but with the likes of Brett Lee and Jacques Kallis in action for KKR, the asking rate eventually proved too much for the Hyderabad outfit.
Lee broke the dangerous-looking fifth-wicket partnership between Dhawan and Ravi Teja, disturbing the latter`s timber with a yorker.
And then Kallis bowled Dhawan in the next over to dismiss any chances of a Deccan win.
Earlier asked to bat, KKR raced off to 36 in 5.4 overs after before Christian dismissed Eoin Morgan (14 off 15) with a slower off-cutter.
Skipper Gambhir, however, opened his innings on a confident note, hitting Christian for a boundary over the extra cover in the first ball he faced.
Gambhir welcomed left-arm spinner Ojha with a four past a diving point fielder to notch up KKR`s 50 in 44 balls.
Kallis, on the other hand, was content to play the second fiddle in the company of his skipper.
The duo raised 43 runs for the second wicket before two quick wickets put a brake on KKR`s scoring rate.
Kallis was the first to depart, caught by Ravi Teja at wide long-off off leg-spinner Mishra in the last ball of the 11th over.
And then three balls later, Ojha got his man, Gambhir as he nicked one to wicket-keeper Sangakkara.
It could have been serious trouble for KKR if not for some sloppy work by the fielders, who dropped big-hitting Pathan twice.
Mishra was the first culprit when me messed up a sitter at deep mid-wicket off Ojha and Pathan added salt to the injury clobbering the left-arm spinner for a six four balls later.
As if one life was not enough, Pathan got another reprieve in the next over when Christian dropped a regulation catch at long-on boundary off Mishra.
To make matters worse for Deccan and Mishra, Pathan sent packing the leg-spinner over wide long-off in the next ball.
Poor Ishant Sharma was also at the receiving end of Pathan`s murderous mood as he clobbered the pacer over long-on.
Tiwary also blossomed in Pathan`s company hitting three fours and a six during his 28-ball knock.