Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2017, Eliminator, Bengaluru May 17, 2017

Knight Riders survive rain scare in 1.27 am finish

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Kolkata Knight Riders 48 for 3 (Gambhir 32*) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 128 for 7 (Warner 37, Coulter-Nile 3-20, Umesh 2-21) by seven wickets (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 03:44
Highlights - Gambhir keeps calm, KKR advance

With half their Eliminator completed, Kolkata Knight Riders' players must have sat in their dugout, cursing. Cursing the weather, the scheduling, themselves. They had won the toss and bowled excellently to restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to 128. Conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium were far from ideal to bat in, but only six teams had ever defended a 20-overs total of 128 or less in the IPL. All six instances had occurred in or before the 2013 season.

And then it had rained, and rained some more.

Were this match to be washed out, Knight Riders would be knocked out, since they had finished fourth on the league table and Sunrisers third. They had lost their last two matches and blown a massive chance to finish in the top two.

Were the IPL's playing conditions uniform across all matches, Knight Riders would have been knocked out. But the playing conditions for playoffs allow for a five-over match to begin as late as 12.26 am - nearly four-and-a-half hours past the scheduled match start - and for a Super Over to be played as far into the night as 1.20 am.

And so, three hours and 18 minutes after the rain had begun - a wait longer than most T20 games - Knight Riders' batsmen began the task of following up their bowlers' good work. Instead of 129 in 20 overs, they would now need to chase 48 in six.

Panic set in. Knight Riders meddled with their batting order, and then lost three wickets in 1.1 overs. But a shortened second innings favours the chasing team in a most exaggerated manner. Given how they bowled, Sunrisers may have thought they could have pushed for a win in a full-duration game, but as it happened, Knight Riders strode home with four balls to spare, their captain Gautam Gambhir easing them past the early jitters with an unbeaten 32 off 19 balls.

Knight Riders go short, Sunrisers fall short

The Chinnaswamy of 2017 hasn't been the Chinnaswamy of IPLs past: the average first-innings total during the league stage was 148. The pitch for the Eliminator wasn't a belter either; it was full of cracks and dark spots, and proved, unsurprisingly, to be two-paced and grippy.

Knight Riders' spinners got the ball to turn sharply, which greatly exaggerated the difficulty of facing Sunil Narine in particular, and their seamers hardly gave the batsmen anything to drive. Of the 72 balls that Knight Riders' three quicks sent down, 53 were pitched either short or short of a good length, with constant pace variations thrown in. Off those 53 short or shortish balls, Sunrisers scored 46. The short ball occasionally sat up to be hit - the pull was a productive shot for David Warner and Kane Williamson during a second-wicket stand of 50 in 46 balls - but short of good length proved almost impossible to hit: 18 balls, eight runs conceded.

The Warner-Williamson partnership moved Sunrisers to 75 for 1 in 11.5 overs, which seemed a decent-enough platform on a far-from-straightforward pitch until both batsmen fell in the space of three balls. Williamson picked out extra-cover off a slower ball from Nathan Coulter-Nile, and Warner was bowled playing across a Piyush Chawla flipper.

Vijay Shankar flickered briefly to score 22 off 17, but there was little else of note from the middle and lower order as Sunrisers only managed 53 in their last 49 balls. Coulter-Nile finished with three wickets, and Umesh Yadav - who dismissed Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh - with two.

A completely different game

Given that the chasing team has ten wickets in both cases, getting 48 in six overs is an indisputably more straightforward ask than getting 129 in 20. Knight Riders still had to go out and get the runs. They opened with Chris Lynn, as always, and Robin Uthappa, for the first time this season. Lynn slapped Bhuvneshwar Kumar's second ball over point to erase an eighth of the target, but top-edged to the keeper next ball. Yusuf Pathan, haring out of his crease for an impossible leg-bye, was run out next ball.

When Uthappa picked out deep midwicket at the start of the next over, Knight Riders were 12 for 3. But they still only needed 36, with seven wickets in hand. It would only take a couple of boundaries to restore a sense of normalcy, and Gambhir produced them, top-edging Chris Jordan for six and putting Siddarth Kaul away for six and four off successive balls.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on May 19, 2017, 13:04 GMT

    What an unfair way to lose via D/L's stupid ruling. SRH is by far a superior side to KKR. Even if SRH got out for a low score of 128, in a qualifier round of play, it is simply Crazy to impose D/L rules. The match could easily have been played the following day. To start with Bangaluru is the worst venue for rain & any organiser knows that it needs a "Rain" day allotted! It was on the same venue SRH lost a point due to rain vs. Kohli's side. With a short boundary for T20, any edged ball go for a "Sixer". Gambhir's edged sixers won the match for KKR. This is the NO way of deciding a match after SRH ruled supreme by thrashing the same KKR a week back with no rain effects. It would be much better to have a round Robin between the last 4 to decide the winner- all played at venues where rain does not decide the winner. My own rating is SRH & Pune are the top 2 teams. MI & KKR are #3 & #4. 20 Over game is already a gamble but when it reduces to 6 overs, it is a "Super Gamble" Not Cricket!

  • jimmyvida on May 19, 2017, 11:52 GMT

    D/L system is a joke. If you are going to have a 5/6 over game, forget the team that batted, be fair, let them bat again for the 5/6 overs and then the other team can have a go at it. That would be truly a 5/6 over game. What if D/L had said in a tied game the team that batted second would get one over to play for the game.

  • Cricinfouser on May 19, 2017, 7:20 GMT

    @ZAHEER HUSSAIN: By your logic, the opposite holds true too. SRH must consider itself lucky that KKR didnt get chance to play 20 overs. Who knows, they may have broken their own record of 105/0 in 6 overs in this match. The rain took away that chance from them :P

    In the end it doesnt matter who won. Both these teams would have lost to MI anyways. MI is going to defeat KKR very easily on friday even if they play their team B against KKR. It'll be a cake-walk for them :D

  • cricpanther on May 19, 2017, 5:28 GMT

    Let's call back and hand over the originator and innovator like Lalit Modi his IPL. Because current IPL commette so sluggis and boring, make this IPL un interested to viewers and graph falls down drastic. Better not too late and replace entire IPL panel and let Lalit makes it more interesting next year.

  • cricpanther on May 19, 2017, 5:21 GMT

    Too bad to choose Bangalore or rainy venue every season, repeated mistake by IPL commette members time to throw all planning dept from IPL and let's call to one person, the real brain and innovator of IPL, MR. LALIT MODI.

  • cricfan28997821 on May 18, 2017, 22:35 GMT

    well done kkr and a deserved victory whether or not its D/L

  • bhushanB on May 18, 2017, 21:17 GMT

    @ALEXK400

    The day is not too far, when 20 overs aside and 4 hours is too long and boring for the Millennials.....the future is T5...and IPL is testing the concept in some of these rain curtailed matches.

  • Cricinfouser on May 18, 2017, 20:58 GMT

    The Afghan fans are disappointed as this was not a fair competition how could you play quarter final with 6 overs and why did they not reduced the wickets to 6 too

  • uppi2pkc on May 18, 2017, 20:43 GMT

    @dileep thumati..... Respect my friend..... You have just earned my respect... Especially the last few lines.... No offense meant to you my friend... But most of your comments were level headed!!!

  • Alexk400 on May 18, 2017, 20:16 GMT

    5 overs to decide a game is terrible. Why not play next day?

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