Pathan sends Kolkata second
A brutal knock of 72 from Yusuf Pathan clinched Kolkata Knight Riders a four-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad - and with it two chances to make the Indian Premier League final.
Pathan registered the fastest half-century in the history of the competition in his side's run chase, needing just 15 deliveries to reach the landmark at an electrified Eden Gardens.
The right-hander hammered seven sixes and five fours as the Knight Riders passed the Sunrisers' total of 160-7 in 14.2 overs, six balls faster than they needed to achieve the feat to overhaul Chennai Super Kings in the table.
Now certain of finishing second, Kolkata will face table-toppers Kings XI Punjab in front of their own fans on Tuesday, with the winners of that match going straight into the final, which takes place in Bangalore next Sunday.
It is not all over for the losers of that match, however. They will get a second crack at qualifying when they take on whoever is victorious in the eliminator between the teams who finish the regular season in third and fourth position.
Defeat ends Hyderabad's chances of extending their campaign - Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Darren Sammy both made 29 apiece in a rather stop-start innings that was not helped by three run outs.
They did manage to deny Sunil Narine adding to his tally of wickets, though the West Indian only leaked 19 from his four overs. Fellow spinner Shakib Al Hasan picked up 1-25, and a target of 161 always looked in Kolkata's reach.
Openers Robin Uthappa (41) and Gautam Gambhir (28) gave them an excellent start with a stand of 43, but it was Pathan who provided the fireworks.
It could have been all so different had he not been dropped from the first ball he faced, the failure of Srikkanth Anirudha to hang on to a straight forward opportunity at deep mid-wicket proving particularly expensive.
Pathan managed four singles to start with, then launched into a quite stunning display of hitting that turned a challenging equation into a walk in the park, or Garden in this case.
He took Parvez Rasool for two sixes and two fours in the same over, while not even Dale Steyn was spared, the South African being hammered for 26 in his final over, the 14th, having leaked just 17 combined from his previous three.
Karn Sharma - who finished up with 4-38 - eventually ended Pathan's fun as Dhawan held on in the deep to show Anirudha how it should be done, though by then it was too late to keep Hyderabad's hopes alive.