Sharjah, Oct 13 (IANS) Riding on a brilliant fifty by Venkatesh Iyer (55 off 41), Kolkata Knight Riders overcome a dramatic collapse to beat Delhi Capitals by 3 wickets in a low-scoring Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2021 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, here on Wednesday.
KKR will now face the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash, which is scheduled to be played at Dubai International Stadium on Friday. This is KKR's first final since 2014.
Chasing a total of 136 runs for victory, openers Iyer and Shubman Gill gave Kolkata a solid start. The duo mixed caution with aggression and took KKR to 51/0 after 6 overs. Even after the powerplay, both the openers continued in the same vein, taking KKR to 76/0 in 10 overs.
Kagiso Rabada, finally gave Capitals a breakthrough as he dismissed Iyer. The youngster played a quickfire knock of 55 runs in 41 balls and stitched a 96-run opening stand with Gill. After Iyer's wicket, Nitish Rana joined Shubman Gill in the middle. But Rana couldn't do much and got out to Anrich Nortje after scoring 13 runs. In the next over, Gill also got out and things took a dramatic turn as KKR collapsed from 125 for 2 to 130 for 7.
But Rahul Tripathi held his nerve to hit a sixer and finish the game for KKR when six runs were required off 2 balls in the final over.
Earlier in the day, openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan gave Delhi Capitals a solid start, scoring 32/0 after 4 overs. However, Kolkata bounced back with the wicket of Shaw (18), who was dismissed by Varun.
After Prithvi's wicket, Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis joined forces and looked to maintain the run-flow. But KKR bowlers didn't allow them to score freely by bowling hard length deliveries. As a result, Delhi were 65/1 at the halfway mark, lurching towards the average total.
The pressure was building on Stoinis, who was promoted in the batting order despite coming from an injury. In order to score freely, the all-rounder gave himself room to hit one through the off side but missed a quick and cross-seamed delivery, which crashed into the stumps. Stoinis (18) and Dhawan added 39-runs for the 2nd wicket partnership.
From there on, Kolkata continued to strangle the batters further and Delhi kept on losing wickets at regular intervals. Dhawan, who scored 36 off 39, was the first to go. He charged down the track, trying to slam Chakaravarthy's delivery straight down the ground but the ball took the outside edge and Shakib did well to cover ground quickly and take a diving catch.
DC skipper Pant came to bat next and started his innings with a boundary. But he couldn't carry his knock longer and got out to Lockie Ferguson, leaving DC in trouble at 90/4 after 15.2 overs.
After losing the wickets of Dhawan and Pant in quick succession, Delhi were in deep trouble and Shreyas Iyer and Shimron Hetmyer had the responsibility to bring their team back in the game. Hetmyer survived a close call on the individual score of 3 as he was caught brilliantly by Shubman Gill at long on off a Varun Chakravarthy delivery but it was called a no ball by the TV umpire.
After getting the life-line, the Windies cricketer hit a couple of sixes in the 18th over bowled by Ferguson. However, in the next over, Hetmyer (17) got run out. Iyer wanted to squeeze out a run but Venkatesh Iyer did well to throw the ball back on time to Dinesh Karthik and Hetmyer was well short of the crease.
In the end, Shreyas Iyer hit a six and four in the last over of the innings and took Delhi Capitals to a total of 135/5 in 20 overs, which was not enough.
Delhi Capitals: 135-5 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 36, Shreyas Iyer 30*; Varun Chakaravarthy (2/26) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders: 136-7 in 19.5 overs (Venkatesh Iyer 55, Shubman Gill 46 ; Kagiso Rabada 2/23).