Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) completed the double over the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in this year’s IPL after their match went to the third super over of the competition, in which Lockie Ferguson produced two cracking deliveries to knock David Warner and Abdul Samad over, following which Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik chased down the meagre target of 3.
KKR got off to a typically slow start after being put in to bat. Having scored 15 off the first three overs, the opening pair of Rahul Tripathi and Shubman Gill then began picking up the pace, with Tripathi dishing out most of the assault. Unfortunately for KKR, Tripathi was the first one to depart, cleaned up by Thangarasu Natarajan at the end of the powerplay.
Other than a 13-run over from Rashid Khan, the middle-overs went by quietly, as Shubman Gill, for the umpteenth time this season, failed to accelerate after batting out the first stage of the innings. His innings of 36 off 37 deliveries was brought to an end with a stunning, diving catch by Priyam Garg at long-off off Rashid Khan. Nitish Rana followed soon afterwards, perishing to the medium pace of Vijay Shankar next over.
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KKR went into the last 5 overs having lost Andre Russell and with Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik at the crease. Both of them accelerated well enough to get KKR to a total of 163, with Karthik remaining unbeaten on 29 having played only 14 deliveries.
Jonny Bairstow, along with Kane Williamson today, opened the batting and got their team off to a blazing start, racing to 58 off the first six overs. It was Lockie Ferguson who broke through first for KKR, removing a dangerous Kane Williamson, who had been playing with a lot of freedom in the first six overs. Ferguson then proceeded to break through twice in his following two overs, bowling both Priyam Garg and Manish Pandey.
A quiet passage of play followed with David Warner and Vijay Shankar in the middle, something that slowly began affecting the required rate. Shankar finally decided to go for the big shot against Cummins, but only managed a top-edge and was safely held by Shubman Gill. The arrival of Abdul Samad to the middle saw some boundaries being hit, as he and Warner brought the equation down to 18 off the final over before Samad holed out off the last ball of the penultimate over.
A half-fit Andre Russell bowled with good pace, but David Warner managed to find the fence thrice before running a brace to leave two for the final delivery of the match. A rapid last ball from Russell saw Warner being unable to get bat on ball, and scramble a leg-bye to tie the scores.
SRH v KKR – Major Talking Points from the game
DK delivers down the order
*Insert ‘pretends to be shocked’ meme gif here*
But honestly, who didn’t see this coming? This has been the story with Dinesh Karthik the batsman so far in this IPL, he fails to make an impression in the middle-overs, demotes himself/gets demoted down the order, lights up the last four overs with a stunning assault on the bowlers, goes back up the order, fails again, and so the cycle has gone on. In the last couple of years, Dinesh Karthik’s batting has been peaking in the last couple of overs of a T20 innings, as evident from his strike rate of 204.08 during this phase.
In fact, the sight of Andre Russell walking back to the pavilion and Dinesh Karthik walking in might have given KKR fans a sense of hope rather than despair, something that would have been unimaginable a year or two ago. While Russell has failed to make any impression with the bat this year, Karthik has lived up to his reputation of being a good finisher in the last 4 overs this year.
With newly-appointed captain Eoin Morgan struggling to break free at the other end, Karthik played a cameo that ended up being the major difference between a score around 150 and KKR’s eventual score of 163. Karthik struck a 14-ball 29, laced with 2 fours and sixes each. He would have got a lot more, had he occupied the strike more often, but 29 ended up being just about enough at the end.
KKR end up profiting from Narine’s bowling action debacle
The main reason why Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Mumbai Indians have been so successful with the ball this year is because all three teams have one or more fast bowlers who can bowl at lightning pace, hit the right length and change things up according to situation. KKR had brought in Pat Cummins ahead of this year’s IPL for the same purpose, but barring a match or two, he hasn’t been able to live up to his reputation. Due to KKR operating with Cummins as their strike bowler and Sunil Narine taking up an overseas spot, Lockie Ferguson had to be content with sitting in the sidelines.
But once the New Zealand speedster, namesake to arguably the greatest Football team manager of all time, got an opportunity in the playing XI today, he left no stone unturned in proving his worth. He was phenomenal in all the stages he was summoned in the SRH innings today, bowling with express pace and frequently changing up his length and speed.
In his first three overs in the middle-stages he first broke the all-important opening stand of Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson, who were running away with the game having smashed 58 in the powerplay. In his following overs, he comprehensively bowled Priyam Garg and Manish Pandey in completely contrasting fashion, knocking Garg over with a leg-cutter and Pandey with a searing yorker.
He was brought back for his final over at the death, and kept the duo of David Warner and Abdul Samad down to 7 in the 18th over. The match ended in a tie, and Ferguson, KKR’s best bowler today, was asked to bowl a fifth over in the match. It turned out that he had saved his best deliveries for the fifth over, as he banged the ball at a good length first ball, comprehensively beat Warner for pace, and knocked the stumps over. Two balls later, he went slightly fuller and much slower against big-hitting Abdul Samad, forcing him to go through with the shot early and knocking his stumps over as well.
Kuldeep Yadav’s role in curbing the runs down helped KKR take the match comfortably to the last over
Having been out of favour for the last few games, Kuldeep Yadav was accommodated into the playing XI so that KKR could play Ferguson and have a second spinner in their armoury. Kuldeep, generally a wicket-taking bowler who goes for plenty of runs on a bad day, was rather cautiously dealt with by the SRH middle-order. He went for six, four and eight in his three overs against David Warner, thereby keeping the game well and truly alive and keeping the squeeze on SRH. Kuldeep’s spell took a lot of pressure off the KKR bowlers at the death, in the process leaving 18 for Andre Russell to defend in the last over.
Andre Russell deserves more praise for the last over
Russell has stated his passion for the Kolkata Knight Riders on a few occasions before, even stating that he would be happy to end his IPL career with KKR. The passion from Russell, who hasn’t been able to live up to the gargantuan standards that he had set with the bat in the past few years, was once again on display today when he accepted the responsibility to bowl the final over against David Warner and Rashid Khan despite badly hurting his hamstring 5 overs ago.
Although the start to his over was poor, the fact that he bowled with good pace despite coming off a short and gingerly run-up meant that Warner, in the 5 deliveries he faced, could not really get hold of him and clear the fence. He did manage to find the fence thrice and run a brace, but Russell put all of his effort in the last ball of the match with 2 runs to defend by hitting the back-of-a-length area as hard as he could, and Warner, unable to get bat on ball, only managed to sneak a leg-bye.
Repeated attempts to overhit hindered Abdul Samad’s game today
Last night, we saw Axar Patel coolly crack three sixes off Ravindra Jadeja to take the 17 required runs for DC to win off the final over with one ball to spare. The reason why he made his match-winning cameo look so easy was that he kept a straight head, got close to the line of the ball, and timed it to perfection rather than opting for muscle-power.
Now, Abdul Samad might only be a few games old in the IPL, but he has shown us that he is more than capable of clearing the ground against the most reputed bowlers in the World. In addition to having a smooth bat-swing, Samad possesses a good technique as well. In fact, his pull shot off Pat Cummins today was testament to what he could do if he watched the ball closely.
Unfortunately, the pressure of the required rate slowly started to get to him, as he began swinging wildly at almost everything that came in his way. While he did manage to get a boundary or two doing so, he was mostly unable to middle the ball, and in the end, ended up guiding a full toss down to Lockie Ferguson at deep mid-wicket, who did very well to parry the ball to the incoming fielder, Shubman Gill.