Kolkata Knight Riders 171 for 9 (Rinku 46, N Rana 42, Jansen 2-24, Natarajan 2-30) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 166 for 8 (Markram 41, Klaasen 36, Thakur 2-23, Arora 2-32) by five runs
Varun Chakravarthy bowled overs 16, 18 and 20 for 12 runs – four of them off byes and leg byes – and one wicket as Kolkata Knight Riders pulled off an improbable win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, only their fourth in 10 matches this season. The defeat left SRH in an identical situation to KKR’s before the match: three wins in six matches. Both sides remained in must-win territory.
When Heinrich Klaasen was dominating at the start of the second half of the chase, it seemed like a cruise for SRH in their pursuit of 172. When they needed 48 off the last six overs, Klaasen fell to Shardul Thakur’s golden arm, and then Varun choked SRH with help from Vaibhav Arora, who got the wicket of Aiden Markram in the 17th over.
KKR’s seventh opening combination of this IPL was the most anticipated: Jason Roy and Rahmanullah Gurbaz, both of whom have batted breathtakingly in different matches. The promise didn’t materialise as Gurbaz walked at Marco Jansen the first ball he faced, and ended up top-edging to mid-on. Later in the over, Venkatesh Iyer got a snorter: extra bounce from just short of a length, and straight at his face. Off the glove to the keeper.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar frustrated Roy with his movement, and Kartik Tyagi, playing his first match this year, benefited as Roy went to manufacture a pull from well outside off and toe-ended it to short third: 35 for 3 in the fifth over.
Helped by some waywardness from Jansen in his third over, Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh set about rebuilding the innings at a fair clip. Aiden Markram saw the opportunity to slip in a couple of overs to two left-hand batters, and found some grip. It was when Tyagi tried to bounce Rana that KKR finally found proper momentum with two sixes and a four in the 10th over to move to 90 for 3.
Spinners shackle KKR
With KKR looking to dominate, Markram went to his No. 1 spinner Mayank Markande, who immediately applied the brakes. Markram himself got a change of ends, and Rana took a risk only to top-edge a slog-sweep.
With Sunil Narine not in batting form, KKR didn’t have an option but to send Andre Russell out to face wristspin. He managed to hit two sixes off overpitched balls, but Markande still overpitched, only wide of his reach, and had him caught at short third.
Wickets then kept falling. KKR sacrificed Suyash Sharma by substituting in Anukul Roy with 15 balls to spare, but they never found the big overs at the death.
Harshit gives KKR new-ball bonus
KKR have mainly relied on their spinners to win them matches but they received a bonus through the impressive burly fast bowler Harshit Rana. He bowled with some heat, and had Mayank Agarwal gloving a bouncer. Shardul Thakur’s golden touch continued with Abhishek Sharma nonchalantly skying one up. Rahul Tripathi took Russell on with four, six and four in the sixth over, but fell to a ramp off a slower ball against the same bowler.
Having taken three early wickets through the quicks, KKR fancied their chances, especially with Anukul getting harry Brook for a duck on the paddle sweep in the seventh over. At 54 for 4, with their two main spinners in the pocket, KKR proceeded to tighten the screws.
Klaasen shifts the momentum
Klaasen and Markram, SRH’s two best batters, went 19 straight balls without even attempting a boundary let alone hit one. They knew there wasn’t much behind them so they were contend to rebuild. KKR were holding back their main spinners, telling them the batters would have to take big risks on a slow low pitch to get the 97 they needed in the last 10 overs.
Klaasen chose Anukul’s third over as the moment to start the pushback. He charged the first ball of the 11th over, and went over long-off for a six. Then he slogged a 101m hit over midwicket. It rubbed on to Markram – he was on 11 off 21 then – who welcomed Varun with two square-cut fours.
It was as though the floodgates had opened with 49 coming off four overs, leaving Sunrisers just 48 to get off six overs.
Thakur inspires, Varun executes
Brought back, Thakur again imparted the golden touch. This length ball, to start the 15th over, looked on-pace and in the slot, but it was a fast cutter, and Klaasen toe-ended it to long-on. SRH still had Markram in charge, and he had now moved up to a run a ball after his slow start. Two boundaries in that Thakur over calmed SRH’s nerves.
However, Varun sucked the life out of their innings. Bowling around the wicket, he denied them any hits down the ground by bowling into the pitch. Nor did he give them any pace to work with.
Markram felt obliged to take on Vaibhav, but chose a bouncer too high to go after. He ended up holing out to long-off for 41 off 40. Varun kept tightening the noose. No boundary came off the 18th over. With 21 required off two overs, Gurbaz took a stunning left-handed catch off Jansen’s inside edge. Arora then overcame a no-ball, which Abdul Samad sliced for four, to leave Varun eight to defend in the last over.
Samad, 20 off 16 at the start of the over, ended up hitting a slow short ball straight to deep midwicket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had never ended up on the winning side on the 33 previous occasions when he had batted in a chase in the IPL; left with too much to do now, he finished on the losing side once again.