Table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad dispatched the Kolkata Knight Riders to win by 13 runs off the back of a sensational performance by Rashid Khan.
The story of Sunrisers’ win starts and ends with Rashid Khan, the phenomenally talented 19-year-old from Afghanistan. Khan scored a blistering 34 not out off just 10 balls, at a mind-boggling strike rate of 340.00, including two fours and four sixes and, in the process, taking his side from a struggling 138-7 off 18 overs through to a match-winning 174-7 off their 20 overs.
He top-edged his first ball over the keeper for four; got lucky with a dropped catch that skipped over deep point for six off his third ball; smashed ball six over cover point for six (a la AB de Villiers); hammered a straight drive to mid-on for a one-bounce four off ball seven; flicked a monstrous six off his pads over square leg off ball eight; slogged ball nine to deep mid-wicket for two runs; and finished the innings by clubbing a straight six over mid-on. It was a display of hitting powerful enough to make even AB green with envy and is sure to draw attention ahead of his country’s first ever Test match, which is set for 14 June against India.
Khan proceeded to own the match when his side took to the field, a brilliant one-handed pick-up and throw, running Nitish Rana out at a key moment in the eighth over, with KKR well placed on 87-1 and on target for a victory.
Khan held catches to dismiss Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi but there was more to follow and, hopefully, the Man of the Match adjudicator would have contemplated donating their match fee to charity based on his performances with the ball.
Khan’s four overs cost a miserly 19 runs (economy rate of 4.75) with 12 dot balls as well as snatching three key wickets. He removed top-scorer Chris Lynn lbw for 48 and bowled Robin Uthappa for two but the big moment came when he removed dangerman Andre Russell, caught at slip cutting at a googly that nipped back hard at him.
Siddarth Kaul (2-32, economy 8.00) and Carlos Brathwaite (2-15, economy 7.50) provided strong support with the ball, while Shakib Al Hasan (1-16) was highly economical at 5.33 runs to the over.
The match kicked off with the Sunrisers openers Wriddhiman Saha (35 off 27 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (34 off 24) getting their team off to a great start, which Shakib Al Hasan (28 off 24) and Deepak Hooda (19 off 19) built upon well, before Khan took charge of the match to drive Sunrisers into a well-deserved place in Sunday’s final.
IPL 2018 is looking beautifully set for a stunning final this Sunday.
Photo by: Deepak Malik /SPORTZPICS for BCCI