Yusuf Pathan came into his own hitting 72 off just 22 balls to take KKR to the target of 161 in 14.2 overs to secure the second spot. (BCCI Images)
Yusuf Pathan sent Sunrisers Hyderabad into submission and Kolkata Knigh Riders to No. 2 on the points table with a stunning display of batsmanship that saw him score the fastest fifty in IPL history in just 15 balls to chase down SRH's 161 in just 14.2 overs at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Kolkata needed to reach the target in 15.2 overs to topple Chennai Super Kings from the second spot, but Yusuf Pathan's 72 off 22 balls, including 7 sixes and 5 fours, finished the game six balls earlier than that.
The win will now allow KKR to play the Qualifier 1 against table-toppers Kings XI Punjab at their homeground the Eden Gardens on May 27.
Incidentally, this was also Kolkata's seventh win in a row this season. Chennai will now face either Mumbai Indians or Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator. Hyderabad have bowled out of the race after Saturday's defeat.
Pathan came in to bat with KKR score a wobbly 78/4 in 9.4 overs, but once dropped by Dale Steyn, he hammered the South African for 26 runs in an over which brought KRR back and set the tone for a famous 4-wicket win.
Leading run-getter Robin Uthappa (41) and Gautam Gambhir (28) set up the chase before Yusuf's blitz. Yusuf was on his way back to dug out before he could open his account after hitting straight to midwicket fielder Anirudha, who dropped the sitter.
It would have been a second wicket in the Karn Sharma's over after the leggie dismissed Manish Pandey but the breather turned around KKR's fortunes as they were reeling 78/4 in 9.4 overs after Uthappa (41) and Ten Doeschate were dismissed in the same over. Yusuf made his intention clear in the next over when he slammed Parvez Rasool one six and a boundary and even got a second life when Steyn dropped him at the square leg boundary, that went over the rope.
The J&K spinner leaked 22 runs in that over. Steyn had to bear the brunt of dropping Yusuf as the biggest onslaught from the Baroda hitter came only against the South African speedster who conceded 26 runs in his last over with two sixes and three fours.
Such was Yusuf's fury that he made the world's no 1 bowler look sorry with the bowling sequence of 4-6-6-4-4-2.
Late flourish from skipper Darren SRH skipper Darren Sammy (29) had guided Sunrisers to a 160 for seven after being invited to bat. Shikhar Dhawan (29 from 31 balls) and Naman Ojha (26 from 23 balls) also contributed in team's total.
Later SRH skipper, after getting a reprieve on zero from a butterfingered Yusuf Pathan, slammed three sixes and one four in his 19-ball 29 to push the total past 150-run mark.
Yusuf not only dropped Sammy's sitter at long-on boundary off Shakib but he took the ball past the boundary rope for a six. Sammy gained confidence and struck another six in an over that yielded 15 runs to push SRH's run-rate.
KKR leaked 21 runs in extras, while pacer Umesh Yadav was most expensive conceding 32 from his three overs. Morne Morkel (1 for 32) was the pick of the bowlers but it was the extras that hurt the cause of KKR who have already sealed a playoff berth but are eyeing a second-place finish for the play-offs. They need to overhaul the target in 15.2 overs to topple Chennai Super Kings from second place.
Aided by some wayward bowling up front, Sunrisers overcame a poor start when Warner was castled by Morkel with a peach of a delivery in the second ball. Morkel was bowling with searing pace and bounce and was the pick of the KKR attack up front but the side conceded 14 extras in first five overs which did not help their cause.
It helped Sunrisers run-rate immensely as they were 49 for one in the Powerplay and were even going nine-plus an over with Dhawan and Ojha scoring freely against the Indian duo of Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar.
Narine was brought in the last Powerplay over but Ojha unsettled the rhythm of the Knight Riders mystery spinner slamming two boundaries.
Ojha was more aggressive than Dhawan and slammed Ryan ten Doeschate for a six over midwicket but was caught and bowled by the Dutchman when the wicketkeeper batsman mistimed one in the next delivery.
Manish Pandey was brilliant in the field and ran out Dhawan and Venugopal Rao to give crucial breakthroughs in the middle but it was of little help with Sammy leading the side
to a fighting total.