Shikhar Dhawan cracked a fifty but Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowlers pulled things back in the middle overs to restrict table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to 172/9 in 20 overs in a crunch Indian Premier League (IPL) game at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Saturday.
As the hosts elected to bat first, in-form Dhawan (50 from 39 balls; 5x4, 1x6), who missed out in SRH's last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), was dropped on 45 by Sunil Narine off Javon Searles.
Besides Dhawan, Shreevats Goswami (35; 26b; 4x4, 1x6), skipper Kane Williamson (36; 17b; 1x4, 3x6) and Manish Pandey (25; 22b; 2x4, 1x6) also contributed with the bat.
Sunrisers, who were 60/0 after six overs, lost wickets at regular intervals as little-known M.Prasidh Krishna (4/30) starred with the ball for the visitors taking three wickets in the last over while Andre Russell (1/31) gave away just seven in the penultimate over while also picking up a wicket.
Kuldeep Yadav (1/35), Sunil Narine (1/23) and Javon Searles (1/24) were all among wickets.
In the last 10 overs, Sunrisers could only manage 80, losing eight wickets after they were 92/1 at the halfway stage.
The hosts got off to a flying start with wicketkeeper-batsman Goswami (35; 26b; 4x4, 1x6) and Dhawan stitching together a 79-run stand for the opening wicket.
Goswami, playing his fourth game of the season but batting for the first time, was given out in the third over when a Russell bouncer rocketed off the helmet and was taken at slip.
Goswami asked for a review straightaway and replays and the decision was overturned.
In the next four balls, Goswami hit Russell for a six and a hat-trick of boundaries, taking 20 runs off the over.
In-form Kuldeep, who grabbed a career-best 4/20 in KKR's previous game, removed Goswami to break the partnership and halt Sunrisers' surge after they were 60/0 in the Powerplay.
Skipper Williamson then joined the party and looked to be continuing from where he had left in the last game by combining with Dhawan for a 48-run second wicket stand before trying to cut a Searles back-of-a- length delivery and finding Russell at deep point.
It was an eventful over where Narine dropped Dhawan and Williamson tonked Searles for back-to-back sixes before getting out.
From there on, Pandey tried to score big but some disciplined death bowling by KKR bowlers put a lid on his plans.