Kolkata keep their playoff hopes alive

After a crucial win against Sunrisers Hyderabad, KKR have managed to keep their qualification hopes alive with their fourth win in 10 games this season…reports Asian Lite News

Spinner Varun Chakravarthy held his nerve to defend nine run in the final over as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) registered a thrilling 5-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in an IPL 2023 match at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, here on Thursday.

Riding on Nitish Rana’s 42 off 31 and Rinku Singh’s 46 off 35, KKR posted 171/9 on the board in front of SRH clinical bowling display. In reply, SRH seemed to be struggling to execute their plans as they lost the rhythm after middle overs and suffered a loss in another game at home.

After a crucial win in their campaign. KKR have managed to keep their qualification hopes alive with their fourth win in 10 games this season.

Chasing 172, SRH opening duo Abhishek Sharma and Mayank Agarwal got off to a solid start before Hyderabad managed to draw first blood and it was Harshit Rana who dismissed Agarwal in the third over.

Agarwal went for a pull but got beaten by the extra pace. He gloved the ball toward the keeper and Rahmanullah Gurbaz had the easy one. Shardul Thakur joined the party in the next over as he removed Abhishek cheaply for 9, reducing SRH to 37/2.

Rahul Tripathi took Andre Russell to the cleaners in the sixth over as he got 4,6,4 before falling on the next ball. Tripathi tried to ramp it over the fine leg boundary but holed out to the deep fielder and Vaibhav Arora took a fine catch. KKR reached 53/3 at the end of the powerplay.

The next over, Anukul Roy trapped Harry Brooks lbw for a duck. KKR kept SRH at bay with an impressive bowling show as the hosts went boundary-less in the next three overs and were reeling 75/4 in 10 overs. Then, Heinrich Klassen and skipper Aiden Markram shifted gears, and the duo stitched a crucial 70-run partnership.

Klassen smashed two sixes against Anukul in the 11th over to release some pressure. Aiden Markram went for back-to-back boundaries Varun Chakravarthy in the next over to keep SRH in the game. When the duo was looking dangerous, Thakur came to the rescue for KKR and shifted the momentum as he got rid of Klassen in the 15th over.

SRH looked much in control when 38 needed off 30 balls but KKR turned the table with brilliant bowling in slog overs as the hosts managed to score 32 runs in the last five overs for the loss of three wickets.

KKR got the big breakthrough with an important wicket of Markram in the 17th over to make the chase tougher for the hosts.

Vaibhav Arora started the penultimate over with a wide and removed Marco Jansen on the next delivery. Bhuvneshwar Kumar came in and began with a boundary. There was a twist in the tail as Abdul Samad smashed a four off the no ball, followed by a dot on the free hit. With a single on the last ball of the over the equation reached 9 off 6 balls.

Hyderabad, May 04 (ANI): Kolkata Knight Riders’ Anukul Roy celebrates a wicket with teammates in a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad during the Indian Premier League 2023, at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, in Hyderabad on Thursday. (ANI Photo/Digital Restriction)

After a couple of singles in the final over, Samad went for a big but ended up losing his wicket, and 7 needed off 3 to win for SRH. Mayank Markande tried to scoop over fine leg and survived a stumping from Gurbaz. A single later, SRH needed nothing less than a six for a win but Chakravarthy ended the over with a dot and KKR sealed a thrilling 5-run win.

Earlier, opting to bat first, KKR had a slow start, losing two quick wickets in the first couple of overs and later lost the set batter, Roy, who threatened with a few boundaries, as the visitors ended the powerplay at 49/3.

While SRH continued with tight bowling, Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh got into the rebuilding act as they found big hits in between to keep the scoreboard ticking and went on to score 61 off 40 balls before a brilliant caught and bowled by Markram ended KKR skipper’s stay on the crease.

Then, SRH lost two wickets in quick succession in the form of Russell and Sunil Narine.

Mayank Markane removed Russell in the 15th over for 24 and half of the KKR side headed back to the hut in 15 overs. And soon Bhuvneshwar dismissed Narine, who was beaten by the lack of pace and chipped it towards extra cover where Agarwal ran to his left to complete an easy catch.

Shardul Thakur slashed straight at deep point off the bowling of Natarajan for a big but Abdul Samad completed a simple catch and it was all on Rinku to give KKR the big finish. Impact player Anukul Roy came in and smashed two successive boundaries in the 19th over to add crucial runs to the board.

Then, Natarajan bowled a brilliant last over, he first denied Rinku a half-century, removing him on low full toss and inflicted a brilliant run-out to dismiss Harshit Rana on the next delivery. He gave away just three off the over as KKR finished with 171/9 in 20 overs.

Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 171/9 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 42 off 31, Rinku Singh 46 off 35; Marco Jansen 2/24, T Natarajan 2/30) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (Aiden Markram 41 off 40, Heinrich Klaasen 36 off 20; Shardul Thakur 2/23, Vaibhav Arora 2/32) by 5 runs.

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