KKR vs SRH, IPL 2021: Gill, bowlers boost Kolkata's Playoff chances

IPL 2021, KKR vs SRH: With KKR's Net Run Rate (NRR) third-best among eight teams, it can reach playoffs if it beats Rajasthan Royals unless Mumbai Indians wins its remaining games with big margins.

Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik

Kolkata Knight Riders' Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik after the IPL 2021 match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.   -  Sportzpics for IPL

Sunrisers Hyderabad's season of unending misery continued unabated after it slipped to its 10th loss in IPL 2021 on Sunday. Kolkata Knight Riders beat SRH by six wickets in Dubai.

With KKR's Net Run Rate (NRR) third-best among eight teams, it can reach playoffs if it beats Rajasthan Royals unless Mumbai Indians wins its remaining games with big margins.

KKR's 116-run chase got off to a conservative start. Shubman Gill's first scoring shot was a beautifully timed drive down the ground for four. Next ball, Gill nearly got caught at short cover but Priyam Garg couldn't get his fingers underneath the ball. Gill then welcomed debutant Umran Malik into the attack with a boundary. Malik cranked up serious pace, clocking the fastest ball by an Indian in this IPL at 151.03kph.

Meanwhile, Venkatesh Iyer was caught for 8 off Jason Holder, having added 23 for the first wicket. Rashid Khan came into the attack in the seventh over and removed Rahul Tripathi. KKR had trudged to 51 for 2 after 11 overs when Gill, who was going at less than run a ball, broke the shackles. He hit Holder for two fours in the 12th over before collecting two successive boundaries off Malik in the 13th. Gill brought up his fifty with a four to deep midwicket. By the time he fell for 57, SRH's fate was sealed.

As it happened

Earlier, Hyderabad got off to the worst possible start after winning the toss. Wriddhiman Saha was given out lbw in the first over. Saha didn't go for the review but replays showed the ball to be missing the stumps.

Soon it was 16 for 2 when Roy picked out mid-on. At the other end, Kane Williamson was playing a different game altogether. He took apart Shivam Mavi in the final over of the Powerplay, hitting four fours. A scorching drive through cover stood out. But Williamson's stay was cut short when Shakib Al Hasan, playing his first game of the second leg, caught him short of the crease with a direct hit.

On a slower deck, Hyderabad's inexperienced middle-order struggled against Kolkata's spinners. There were only six boundaries since the Powerplay. KKR's three spinners went for a combined 58 in 12 overs and took three wickets as Sunrisers' batting surrendered meekly again.

WHAT THEY SAID

Shubman Gill, Player of the Match: It was important to assess the wicket. It wasn't easy to hit the spinners on this wicket. I was targeting the shorter side.

Eoin Morgan, KKR captain: The wicket played slower than we thought. It swings early in the Powerplay in these conditions, but it was sluggish. We needed to bowl and field well and we did. The depth of the squad to be able to call Shakib is a huge luxury. We are focused on playing good cricket. We've played really good cricket.

Kane Williamson, SRH skipper: I think if we got closer to the 150 mark, it might have been par. We did have our chances to squeeze the scoring but it was always going to be tough with such a low score. We haven’t been able to identify the right score all season.

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