Monday, 17 Jun, 2024


Kolkata thrash Hyderabad to reach IPL final

Sports Desk |
Update: 2024-05-22 08:49:40
Kolkata thrash Hyderabad to reach IPL final photo collected

Mitchell Starc bagged three early wickets to propel Kolkata Knight Riders into the IPL final with a dominant eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Two-time champions Kolkata bowled out Hyderabad for 159, with Starc's impressive figures of 3-34 in the first playoff qualifier at the world’s largest cricket stadium.

"We needed to pick early wickets," said Starc, who was named player of the match. "The spinners were effective and the whole bowling department was spot on."

Starc, a left-arm fast bowler, proved his worth after Kolkata acquired him for $2.98 million in the December auction, making him the most expensive player in IPL history, surpassing Hyderabad’s purchase of Pat Cummins for $2.5 million.

Venkatesh Iyer (51) and captain Shreyas Iyer (58) remained unbeaten as Kolkata chased down their target with 38 balls to spare.

Hyderabad will have another opportunity to reach the final when they face the winner of the eliminator in the second qualifier on Friday in Chennai.

"We all have played enough cricket, and going to a new venue (Chennai) helps us as well, so we gotta keep this behind and move on," said Cummins.

The scorching heat in Ahmedabad, with temperatures exceeding 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit), saw over 75,000 fans brave the conditions, though the 132,000-capacity stadium had many empty seats. Bowlers regularly took drinks breaks between overs.

Most of northern India has been under government heatwave alerts, with New Delhi recording temperatures of 47.4 degrees Celsius.

Starc made an immediate impact, bowling fellow Australian Travis Head with the second ball of the match for a second consecutive duck in the T20 tournament. His twin strikes in the third over dismissed Nitish Kumar Reddy and Shahbaz Ahmed, reducing Hyderabad to 39-4 in five overs.

Rahul Tripathi (55) and Heinrich Klaasen (32) counter-attacked in a 62-run partnership before Varun Chakravarthy dismissed Klaasen with his spin.

"The way every bowler stood up and took wickets was crucial," said Shreyas Iyer of his team's bowling performance. "The attitude and approach of all bowlers was to take wickets and they did. When you have a variety in the bowling line-up, it's mesmerizing."

Tripathi was run out, and Hyderabad's innings continued to falter before Cummins added a quick 30 off 24 balls.

In response, Rahmanullah Gurbaz gave Kolkata a strong start with 23 off 14 balls, and fellow opener Sunil Narine scored 21 before being dismissed by Cummins. Venkatesh Iyer’s unbeaten 97-run partnership with Shreyas Iyer ensured Kolkata's victory, with Shreyas hitting a six to seal the win.

Rajasthan Royals will face Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the eliminator at the same venue on Wednesday.

BDST: 0848 HRS, MAY 22, 2024

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