- With this win, Kolkata keeps their chances of making the IPL 14 playoffs alive.
- Dinesh Karthik remained unbeaten on 18 off 12 balls, contributing to a nail-biting win.
- KKR finish off the target with two balls to spare, moving up to fourth place in the points table.
Young Shubman Gill scored a superb half-century following an excellent bowling performance helped help Kolkata Knight Riders to a six-wicket win against Sunrisres Hyderabad on Sunday and kept their IPL play-offs chances alive.
Kolkata initially bowled well to limit Hyderabad to a below-par 115 for eight, and then rode Shubman Gill’s 57 off 51 balls to a comfortable victory.
The victory placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in fourth place in the standings, with 12 points from 13 games. With three play-off spots already secured by Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, and Royal Challengers Bangalore, the fight for the fourth and final position is on between KKR, Rajasthan Royals, and reigning champions Mumbai Indians, while Punjab Kings are out.
Despite defending a small total, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) bowlers were spot on from the start, as KKR batsmen struggled to strengthened the pace of the game.
The opening pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jason Holder were precise early on, while newcomer Umran Malik’s raw speed caused problems for Gill and Nitish Rana (25) in the middle overs.
Rashid Khan also caused problems for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsmen, while Siddharth Kaul was precise with his line and length, making it difficult for opposing batsmen to open their arms.
Venkatesh Iyer (8) and Rahul Tripathi (7) were out in rapid succession to Holder and Rashid, and Gill and Rana struggled to rotate the strike as the asking rate increased, with Kolkata reaching 44 for 2 at the halfway mark.
With Rana unable to get going, Gill took it upon himself to break the shackles, which he did by smashing Holder for two boundaries in the 12th over, reducing the equation to 53 off 42 balls.
Gill maintained his attacking instincts in the following over, striking Malik for back-to-back boundaries to help the chase.
Gill and Rana didn’t seem to be in a hurry to finish the chase until the former flicked one straight to Holder at long-on off Kaul’s delivery.
When Rana was removed in the 18th over, the match became tense, but Dinesh Karthik (18 not out) and Eoin Morgan (2 not out) finished the chase with two balls to spare.
Earlier, SRH skipper Kane Williamson’s choice to bat first backfired as they lost wickets at frequent intervals, failing to match KKR’s sharp bowling, especially Tim Southee and the spin duo of Sunil Narine & Varun Chakravarthy.
Already out of competition for a play-off place, SRH got off to a disastrous start, losing Wriddhiman Saha for a duck on the second ball, LBW to Southee. In the fourth over, Southee caught Jason Roy (10) off Shivam Mavi.
Williamson (26 off 21 balls) tried to revive the innings and looked to be on track until he was run out by KKR’s Shakib Al Hasan with Hyderabad on 38 runs for three wickets in 6.5 overs.
After Williamson left, the SRH batsmen struggled, despite Priyam Garg (21) and Abdul Samad (25) attempting to form a partnership.
Samad attempted his best to ramp up the tempo in the final five overs, striking three powerful sixes, but finally perished in pursuit of fast runs, caught by Shubman Gill of Southee’s bowling.
In a 12-run ninth-wicket partnership, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (7 not out) and Siddharth Kaul (7 not out) stayed unbeaten.
The spin pairing of Shakib (1/20) and Narine were excellent in the middle overs, making things difficult for the SRH batsmen.
While Narine did not return with a wicket, he was economical, ending with statistics of 4-0-12-0. Six wickets were split by Southee (2/26), Mavi (2/29), and Chakravarthy (2/26).