IPL Playoffs: Will Bengaluru be second-time lucky for KKR?

Gautam Gambhir held his nerves as he helped KKR chase 48 runs in six overs against defending champion Sunrisers Hyderabad in a rain-hit match in Bengaluru

Photo courtesy: Twitter\@IPL10
Photo courtesy: Twitter\@IPL10

Vikrant Jha

The India Premier League (IPL) play-off matches have no reserve days in case of rains, or any other disruption. In such scenarios, the team finishing above on the points table in the group stage advances through.

For the longest period in Wednesday’s clash between the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), it looked as if SRH would advance through without a ball being bowled in the second innings. However, with the rain subsiding and allowing the chase to resume at 12:55 am, KKR was given a revised target of 48 in 36 balls (six overs), which was chased down with four balls and seven wickets to spare.

With the next qualifier also scheduled to be played in Bengaluru, where heavy rains have been reported in the last week or so, the decision seems questionable.

KKR bowlers stifle Sunrisers

In the eliminator, held at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, David Warner’s men, after being invited to bat first, could never build a momentum as KKR bowlers dictated terms throughout the first half. Nathan Coulter Nile rattled the SRH batting line-up with figures of 3-20 in his four overs. Umesh Yadav, too, picked up two wickets, conceding just 21 runs in his four overs. Captain Warner top-scored for Hyderabad, with a 35-ball 37, but the side were never really in contention as they just managed 128 for the loss of seven wickets.

As soon as the SRH innings got over, it poured down and the proceedings got delayed. Rain threatened to wash the entire match and, had it rained for an extra half an hour, SRH would have had emerged victorious as they had finished above KKR in the group stages. The showers, however, finally stopped and a revised total, using the Duckworth-Lewis method, of 48 was given to KKR to be chased down in six overs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the purple cap holder for the most number of wickets in the tournament, conceded a six before dismissing the KKR opener, Chris Lynn, on the next delivery. Yusuf Pathan’s dismal run-out on the very next ball made the matters worse for the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise. KKR, seemingly, lost its way in the chase when Chris Jordan dismissed Robin Uthappa of the first delivery of the second over. The balance of the match was tilted in Sunrisers’ favour, when Gambhir decided to take the matters in his own hands.

The Captain seemed to be playing on a completely different surface as he scored a blistering 32 of just 19 balls, taking his side home without any further hiccups. Ishank Jaggi, who joined Gambhir in the middle, after the fall of Uthappa, played the second fiddle to his skipper, scoring five in eight deliveries.

The rain assistance

A full 20-over game may have been a completely different affair for both the teams. A target of 129 was nevertheless below par, but given the firepower the SRH bowling line-up possesses, the fans would have anticipated a comeback.

With 48 to chase in six overs, including an over of fielding restrictions, SRH did a screamer of a job in taking the match into the final overs and making the KKR batsmen travel an extra yard for the win.

But chasing 48 off six overs in an IPL match, KKR were always going to be favorites.

Another test awaits KKR

KKR will now face group stage toppers Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier on Friday at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Mumbai Indians lost the first qualifier to Rising Pune Supergiant earlier this week and, will be keen on making amendments. The winner of the second qualifier will face Rising Pune Supergiant on May 21 at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad for the title.

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