Kolkata Knight Riders is in its third IPL after defeating Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2021 playoffs. It would now take on Chennai Super Kings on Friday in a bid for its third title.
Former champion Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pulled off a thrilling three-wicket win, with a ball to spare, against Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 2 of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) Playoffs at the Sharjah Cricket Ground on Wednesday. It is in its third IPL final and would play against fellow former champion Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Dubai on Friday.
Winning the toss, KKR skipper Eoin Morgan opted to bowl, as he moved in with an unchanged XI, while DC captain Rishabh Pant brought in Marcus Stoinis for Tom Curran. DC was off to a steady start before losing Prithvi Shaw (18) to Varun Chakravarthy in the fifth over, with 32 runs on the board.
It was followed by a 39-run stand between fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Marcus Stoinis (18) before the latter was knocked over by pacer Shivam Mavi in the 12th, followed by Dhawan to Chakravarthy in the 15th, at 83. As Pant (6) came in, he could not contribute significantly, falling to Lockie Ferguson seven runs later, in the 16th.
With the pitch playing slow, the DC batters kept struggling to connect the ball properly, let alone scoring. However, Shreyas Iyer (30) and Shimron Hetmyer (17) contributed 27 before the latter was run out in the 19th, at 117.
Iyer then hit a couple of sixes in the final over to take the score past 130 and finish at 135/5, which was still a below-par total. KKR used five bowlers, with Chakravarthy claiming a couple, with he and Ferguson being the most economical of all.
As KKR came out for the chase, it was an unstoppable start by the openers, with Shubman Gill (46) and Venkatesh Iyer (55) contributing 96 runs before the latter departed after scoring his fourth IPL half-century in the 13th. It was followed by a 27-run stand between Gill and Nitish Rana (13), as pacer Anrich Nortje dismissed him in the 16th over.
Thereon, KKR lost wickets in a flurry, going seven down by 130, with the batters falling in single digits. In the final over, the equation came down from seven needed off six to six needed off two, as it was Rahul Tripathi (12*) hitting the winning six off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to seal KKR's final berth by three wickets, with a ball to spare.
DC put five bowlers into the attack. While Nortje, Ashwin and Kagiso Rabada claimed a couple each, pacer Avesh Khan nailed it with his economy.
Brief scores: DC 135/5 (Dhawan- 36, Iyer- 30; Chakravarthy- 2/26) lost to KKR 136/7 in 19.5 overs (Gill-46, Iyer- 55; Rabada- 2/23) by three wickets.