All-round KKR beats SRH, seals playoff spot

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling faltered against as Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Sunil Narine helped chase down 173 comfortably.

Chris Lynn scored his third half-century this season.   -  K. V. S. Giri

Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa scored when it mattered most, guiding Kolkata Knight Riders to a five-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here in what was the last league match for both the teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Knight Riders made it to the play-offs with 16 points while Sunrisers finished the league stage with 18 points, having already made it to the next phase.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It was another disappointing performance, this time at home, by the usually effective Sunrisers bowling attack, again with the exception of leg-spinner Rashid Khan.

 

Lynn, who cracked a brilliant half-century, put on 66 runs off 57 balls with Uthappa for the second wicket, a stand which saw KKR post 100 for one in 10.5 overs. This was after a belligerent opening stand of 52 from 3.4 overs with the flamboyant Sunil Narine. It took a brilliant effort by Manish Pandey at wide long-on, running to his right to complete a great catch, to end Lynn’s superb innings. Then, captain Dinesh Karthik put his stamp of class with a superbly-paced knock to ensure the script didn’t go awry for his team in a must-win game.

Openers, Williamson sizzle

Earlier, Sunrisers, opting to bat, had to settle for a score that can be considered underwhelming considering the start given by its left-handed openers. Shikhar Dhawan, who scored his fourth fifty of this edition, and Shreevats Goswami, put on 79 in 8.4 overs.

 

Goswami was declared out caught off Andre Russell by umpire Anil Chaudhary in the third over; he employed a good review to force the decision to be reversed as the ball had bounced off the helmet. Goswami made the most of this opportunity and was equal to the challenge of opening in place of Alex Hales. He contributed to a sprightly start in the first five overs during which time Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik used five different bowlers.

 

When Goswami lofted chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav straight to long-on fielder, the stage was set for captain Kane Williamson. And he didn’t disappoint the biggest crowd of this season (34,734), starting off with an exquisite pull off Kuldeep to the fence and then smashing pacer Javon Searles for two huge sixes over fine-leg. Just when he looked set for another big score, he slashed Searles straight to the fielder in the deep in the same over, the 13th of the innings. With his dismissal, there was a shift in momentum, too, as the bowlers got back the confidence.

Limiting damage

Dhawan, who was looking good, failed to capitalise on a dropped chance (on 45) by Sunil Narine, who floored a skier off Searles. He was eventually trapped lbw on the shuffle by pacer Prasidh Krishna.

It was a spirited bowling display in the last five overs by Knight Riders, conceding just 31 runs and taking seven wickets — four of them in the final over with Prasidh picking three and the fourth being a run-out.

Eliminator spot confirmed
  • Kolkata Knight Riders sealed qualification for the playoffs with the win.
  • A win was all that Knight Riders needed to assure itself of a playoff spot, having had two points more (14) than the other contenders — Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, and Royal Challengers Bangalore — which had 12 points each (before Rajasthan's match against RCB) and could gain a maximum of only 14 points.
  • Knight Riders finishes third on the table and has qualified for the Eliminator, in which it will lock horns with either Rajasthan Royals or Mumbai Indians, or Kings XI Punjab, depending on Sunday's results.