Sharjah, October 13: Kolkata Knight Riders entered into the finals of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 with a three-wicket win over Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2 here on Wednesday (October 13). The Knight Riders had the entire match in control before it went into disarray in the final three overs of their run chase.
But they should be thankful for the calm and composed demeanour showed by uncapped batter Rahul Tripathi - who dispatched Ravichandran Ashwin for a maximum on the penultimate delivery of the match to sink Delhi Capitals' hopes of a turnaround.
Kolkata tried everything in the dying moments of the game as they lost three wickets in five deliveries but Rahul Tripathi's big hit ensured captain Eoin Morgan's side survived the setback in a heart-stopping thriller and romped home.
In a below-par run chase of 136 and dew making it easier for the chasing side, Venkatesh Iyer continued to impress with his fearless batting skills as the left-handed opener smashed another imperious fifty. The Indore batter - who has been the find of the season in the UAE-leg - scored a quickfire 55 off 44 deliveries. His knock was studded with three sixes and four boundaries.
Along with his opening partner Shubman Gill (46), Iyer gave KKR a sublime start as the duo forged a partnership of 96 runs for the first wicket. After Iyer's departure, KKR lost the wickets of Nitish Rana (13) and Gill in the middle overs but they were still in cruise control in the run chase.
But things went haywire after Gill's dismissal, Delhi Capitals bowlers breathed life into a dull contest in the death overs and almost took their team close to an almost stunning victory. Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and R Ashwin bowled brilliantly in their final overs to raise hope for their side but KKR were always short of just one big hit and Tripathi did just the same.
Earlier in the day, KKR spin trio of Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan put up another disciplined effort as prevented Delhi Capitals from posting a respectable total at a sluggish Sharjah surface. The Rishabh Pant-led side kept losing wickets at the regular intervals after being put in to bat first and could only manage 135 for five in stipulated 20 overs.
Here are the Stats, Full List of Award Winners, Man of The Match, Post Match Presentation Highlights:
Full list of award winners:
Perfect catch of the match - Shakib Al Hasan - took the catch of Shikhar Dhawan - Rs 1 Lakh.
Super Striker of the match - Shimron Hetmyer (DC) - Rs 1 Lakh.
Dream11 Game Changer of the match - Venkatesh Iyer (KKR) - Rs 1 Lakh
Lets Crack It Sixes - Venkatesh Iyer (KKR) - 3 sixes - Rs 1 Lakh
Power player of the match - Shubman Gill (KKR) - Rs 1 Lakh
Most Valuable Asset of the match - Venkatesh Iyer (KKR) - Rs 1 Lakh
Player of the match - Venkatesh Iyer (KKR) - Rs 1 lakh
Rishabh Pant, losing captain: I don't have words to express at the moment, can't tell anything. We just kept believing, tried to stay in the game as long as possible. The bowlers nearly pulled it back, but it's unfortunate that it didn't go our way. They bowled very well in the middle-overs, we got stuck and couldn't rotate strike. Delhi Capitals are known to be positive and hopefully, we'll come back better next season. We played really good cricket, yes, there will be ups and downs, but we'll stay positive, be there for each other, care for each other and hopefully we'll come back better next season.
Eoin Morgan, winning captain: We will dissect what happened in the last four overs. The openers gave us a great platform. But we have won and we are in the finals. We are delighted to get over the line. We are in the entertainment business and need to play some entertaining cricket. Six off 2 and you would say the odds are for the bowling side. But Tripathi has done it for us so many times.
The guys coming in feel free to express themselves. The backroom staff have created an excellent atmosphere for that to happen. With the squad we have, we had huge expectations. Our coach Brendon McCullum saw Iyer and had tracked his progress. Iyer seems to be batting on a different wicket. Anything can happen in a final!
Venkatesh Iyer, Man of the Match: I am doing what has been asked of me. I am very happy that we ended on the winning side. There is no difference. I came out and played the way I want to play. I am grateful to the management. It is a wonderful place to come and play. I think in the past couple of games, I have been trying to restrict myself a bit as I wanted to stay till the end. But then I thought it is not me. I was losing out on the present trying to be a bit conservative. Gill is an extremely wonderful stroke player and we complement each other. Heard the news (about being asked to stay back in the Indian bio-bubble for the T20 World Cup) this morning, but my entire focus was on tonight's game.