IPL 2017: David Warner and Gautam Gambhir were involved in an intriguing eliminator duel
KKR won the toss and were more than happy to chase, backing themselves to chase whatever David Warner and co could set them.
But neither Warner or Shikhar Dhawan, the tournament’s two top run-scorers, delivered on their form and only a couple of decent strikes from Vijay Shankar in the late stages got them up to 128/7.
The rain started in the final over of the Hyderabad innings and threatened to end the game there and then – a no-result would have given Sunrisers Hyderabad a bizarre win.
But a reduced innings of six overs and target of 48 became possible thanks to the fine drainage in Bengaluru and the calm head of Gautam Gambhir helped KKR home.
So here are all the highlights, the lowlights, the things we learned and the important bits you might have missed with now just two games left in IPL 2017.
KKR seamers kept the lid on it
Warner and Dhawan have been instrumental in the Sunrisers’ run back to the playoffs, combining for more than 1,000 runs in the regular season fixtures.
But they were kept under wraps by Yadav and Boult, who offered very little width for either batsman to work with hitting a difficult pitch hard to make it tricky to score quickly.
Dhawan eventually perished to the pressure of the dots and the slow pitch, smashing Yadav high into the night sky to give KKR their first victim.
Nathan Coulter-Nile meanwhile, playing for the first time in three weeks after a nasty blow while batting, bowled with superb composure and intelligence to back up the work of his opening seamers. Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine were able to bowl without pressure thanks to the control exerted by the seamers.
The return of Sunil Narine
There was a point when it looked as though Narine’s stock as a cricketer had completely evaporated.
He had been one of the most unplayable bowlers in the IPL with an impossibly low economy rate and the No1 ranking in the ICC Twenty20 bowling standings before he was banned from bowling.
On his return to IPL action, it at first looked as though he might have lost the mystery knack. But we can forget all about that now.
Not only is he back to spinning the ball both ways and bamboozling batsmen all over India, he has carved out a niche as a true pinch-hitter, striking the ball cleanly at the top of the order for fun.
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He may not have been given the chance to do so today and he may not have picked up any wickets, but his strong performance with the ball was part of the pressure built by KKR.
There is no reserve day
It seems insane that the final is the only IPL fixture with a reserve day and yet there is no game tomorrow.
Sunrisers were nearly gifted a win in the latter stages of a major T20 competition by rain in the most comprehensive and unjust of circumstances.
The authorities must surely look at the logic of the circumstances under which a team can essentially lose half a game of cricket, stop there and then win the game.
The IPL regulations almost saw Sunrisers Hyderabad through without a second innings
Pressure does very odd things to people
The first strange decision was the one not to ask Narine to put his pads on first up. His rapid 54 against RCB 10 days ago should have been enough to put him firmly at the start of order for the forseeable.
Instead, Robin Uthappa went out and was dismissed for just one.
Yusuf Pathan replaced him and was run out first ball by Bhuvneshwar Kumar following through. It was a suicide run.
The one man of course who seemed not bothered by much of it was Gambhir, who had seen it all before.
Rashid Khan is one of the world’s most exciting talents
Khan bowled the third over, the first outside the shortened powerplay, with KKR apparently ready to knock him around for one a ball.
He may have bowled two wides, understandable with a new, damp ball, but he also beat Gambhir twice with turning googlies.
Warner chose him to bowl a second over and he once again troubled the experienced player of spin.
The 18-year-old has given a terrific account of himself in IPL 2017 – Afghanistan has found another star.
Source : EXPRESS