Risers send Riders packing; Set date with Lions for Qualifier 2
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Two teams that played the last match against each other with one of them facing elimination came face to face again. The scenario was same again; the losers of the match get eliminated. Sunrisers Hyderabad is a very well balanced side but they were here after two consecutive defeats.
The last defeat was at the hands of the same opposition they were playing today while the Kolkata Knight Riders had completely outplayed the Sunrisers in their last match to seal a spot in the playoffs.
All this in perspective, KKR looked at a slight advantage and on top of that KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir is the local boy for Delhi, having played his entire junior and state level cricket here, at this very Ferozshah Kotla Ground. But so has Shikhar Dhawan, who is playing for the Sunrisers.
Sunrisers Hyderabad were probably not thinking about all this and came out with a performance good enough to show KKR the doors. Gambhir won the toss and elected to field first. He was rewarded soon with an early wicket of Shikhar Dhawan as well but David Warner and Moses Henriques settled in with a 59 run partnership to give enough reason for Gambhir to doubt his decision.
But as mystery spinner Kuldeep Yadav sent back Henriques and Warner off consecutive deliveries, KKR would have thought they have got back the control of the match. A certain Yuvraj Singh had other ideas though and he implemented them with conviction as he top scored with 44 runs in just 30 balls.
Cameos from Deepak Hooda and Bipul Sharma helped Sunrisers post a fighting 162 for 8 in their 20 overs.
A target of 163 for the KKR lineup was never out of reach but the seam attack of the Sunrisers have been pretty hard to get away for every team this season. They were at it again as Sran removed the consistent Uthappa early. No. 3 batsman Colin Munro tried too many tricks but failed to connect any as he was send back by a Yuvraj Singh direct hit for 16 runs off 17 balls. Gambhir and Pathan followed soon, leaving KKR tottering at 69 for 4 in 11 overs.
With the pressure of the asking run rate, increasing every ball and the Sunrisers impeccable bowling at the death overs KKR started to crumble. The panic had set in the KKR camp. They were swinging the bats but the connections were missing with accurate Yorkers from Mustafizur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar landing on target every time. Such was the bowling from Sunrisers that they conceded just 30 runs in the last 5 overs when KKR needed 53. In the end it was a comprehensive win for Sunrisers as the Knight Riders could just manage 140 for 8 in their innings. Manish Pandey top scored for KKR with 36 runs from 28 balls while Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 3 wickets for just 19 runs in his 4 overs.
KKR are out of it. Sunrisers Hyderabad now faces the Gujarat Lions in Qualifier 2.
The winner of that match will advance to the finals to play RCB at Bangalore. Lions will be coming out from a defeat while Sunrisers will be buoyant after this win and also have a slight edge having played this match at same venue where the Qualifier 2 will be played but with Batting lineup that the Lions possess, they can never be counted out.