Morne Morkel’s two wickets weren’t enough as the Sunrisers Hyderabad knocked the Kolkata Knight Riders out of the IPL in Delhi on Wednesday.
The Sunrisers will now face the Gujarat Lions in the qualifier to see who will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final, after the Sunrisers beat KKR by 22 runs.
Ironically, KKR beat the Sunrisers by 22 runs in the reverse fixture in their last group game just three days ago, and it was that defeat that prevented the Sunrisers from finishing in the top two. While the Sunrisers were forced to go the long way around, they are now one match away from reaching their first ever IPL final, while KKR have been denied the chance to win a third title in five years.
The Sunrisers’ 162-8 looked ominous at first, as KKR have been a good chasing side throughout the tournament, evident from the fact that they’ve chosen to bowl first after every toss they’ve won, including this one.
It was a very patchy start from David Warner’s charges, however, as Shikhar Dhawan fell to Morne Morkel for 10, while Warner departed for a run-a-ball 31. They had scored 11 half-centuries between them going into this clash.
They had their middle order to thank for getting them back on track, as Moises Henriques, buoyed by his call-up to the Australia Test squad, plundered 31, while seasoned campaigner Yuvraj Singh scored 44. There were useful contributions from Deepak Hooda (21) and Bipul Sharma (16) to give them a competitive total.
Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir were typically quick off the blocks in response, but they were dealt an early blow as Uthappa fell for 11.
They were firmly on track from there, though, as Gambhir and powerful New Zealander Colin Munro put on a brisk 32. Then the game-changer came, as Yuvraj produced an excellent bit of fielding. With one stump to aim at from point, a quick single turned into a wicket, as a direct hit sent Munro running all the way back to the pavilion.
That proved the catalyst for a flurry of quick wickets, and KKR never recovered. Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav offered some brief hope with a 46-run stand, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar lifted himself up to the top of the wicket-taking charts in the tournament with another bout of wickets in fast succession to leave the Knight Riders short.