Once again the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers showed the way with the bowl to beat Kolkata Knight Riders on a good batting wicket to reach the IPL 2018 Finals.
It was a brilliant bowling display combined with some mediocre batting that helped SRH clinch the match against KKR in the 2nd Qualifier of IPL 2018. KKR were on script for most part of their bowling display and might have been quite pleased with the progress during the initial stages of the SRH batting. None of the SRH batting could get going and with Kane Williamson getting out cheaply, the score read at 36/3. It was tough going and at the end of the 17th over SRH were around 120+ mark and needed desperately some miracle from the lower order especially Carlos Braithwaite.
Rashid Khan’s Onslaught with the Bat
Some brilliant outfield work by Nitish Rana helped to see the back off Carlos Braithwate while trying to take a second run. The script was going well on track for Dinesh Karthik. With the score reading 132/5 in 17.3 overs, in walked Rashid Khan to upset the set plans of KKR. The first swish off the bat from Rahid Khan saw a top edge that went over the keeper’s head and raced to the boundary. The next 2 overs were brilliant, with Rashid Khan swinging the bat and some nice hits over the extra boundaries. The last over was the game changer with SRH taking 24 runs which saw Rashid Khan anticipating the bowler and hitting some wonderful blows for the maximum. One particular hit stood out where he moved slightly to the off stump and then hit a whipping shot on the leg and the ball ended 10 rows back. It was Rashid Khan’s day all the way and he ended up scoring 34 off 10 balls – a whopping strike rate of 340.
Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine had a perfect start to the chase with both of them going after the bowling. With the ball not swinging, and on a good batting track it was Sunil Narine who showed why he is so dangerous hitting consecutive 3 fours off the bowling of Kumar. Khaleel the left-arm pace bowler for SRH showed he has some learning to do – with both Lynn and Sunil hitting him with ease, both square off the wicket as well as straight down. With the score at 34/3 in 3 overs, KKR were well on track to overcome the par score put up by Sunrisers. It was the knuckle ball by Siddarth Kaul that misled Sunil Narine to hit a skier for a simple catch. But still the good pace of the wicket and with Lynn playing well , KKR were always withing reach of the target. Kane Williamson marshaled his force brilliantly and it was up to the spinners to bring back the game. With the score reading at 93/2 in 10 overs, KKR were well and truly in control of the game
KKR’s Brain Fade Moments
It was in the 11 th over that the script started changing – Uthappa was Rashid’ first victim when he tried to do a reverse sweep of a leg stump ball which eventually crashed into the stumps. At the other end, Lynn was playing positive cricket and was using the leg sweep to counter Rashid Khan. At 108 for 3 , KKR had their 2 experienced batsmen at the crease , Lynn and Dinesh Karthik. With Shakib bowling with Rashid Khan in tandem, it was difficult for KKR to maintain the pace but they still were in complete control. The breakthrough was given by Shakib (or the brain fade moment of Dinesh) which saw Dinesh trying to cut to a fuller ball angled in that ineveitably crashed through the gate. This was when SRH saw an opening and went for the jugular. In Rashihd Khan’s next over Chris Lynn was undone by his sweep shot and was plumb in front of the wicket to a delivery pitched on middle leg and slighly turning. From 90/2 KKR crashed to 128/5 and suddenly the game rested on young Shubman Gill’s shoulder. With quick changes and some lovely bowling in the last overs by Siddharth Kaul and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar , KKR was left needing 19 off the last 6 balls. Carlos Braithwate’s last over began with a boundary in the first ball – 15 from 5 balls. That’s when Kane Williamson had a great plan and asked Carlos to switch and bowl from round the wicket. The new angle prevented the batsman from freeing their arms and the next 2 balls saw 2 wickets going down to deep mid-wicket and incidentally into the hands of Rashid Khan. With Shubman Gill also perishing the same way , it was a done deal for SRH and they won by 14 runs.
Apart from having the best strike rate for both the batting and bowling, Rashid Khan was instrumental in a run out and took a couple of catches in the deep – All in a day’s work !