• Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Russell, Rana help KKR survive Klaasen fury

Kolkata Knight Riders’ Harshit Rana celebrates a wicket during the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, at Eden Gardens, in Kolkata on Saturday. (ANI Photo)

Shajil KumarBy: Shajil Kumar

Harshit Rana’s resilience in the final over and Andre Russel’s muscling fifty helped Kolkata Knight Riders survive Heinrich Klaasen’s six-hitting spree and score a thrilling four-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their IPL match here on Saturday (23).

Klaassen almost turned the match on its head with a 29-ball 63 in which he moussed eight sixes without a single four. But SRH bravely chased KKR’s imposing 208/7, which was built around Russell’s (64, 25b) and Phil Salt’s 54 (40b), but could only make 204 for seven.

The South African took IPL’s costliest buy Mitchell Starc to cleaners smashing him for three sixes, while Bengal cricketer Shahbaz Ahmed ended the Aussie left-arm quick’s over with another six.

That 26-run over meant Starc, who joined the Knight Riders for a record Rs 247.5 million, finished with woeful figures of 4-0-53-0.

Needing 13 off the last over, KKR gambled with rookie pacer Rana as he was hammered for seven runs off the first two balls.

But first he dismissed Shahabaz and then Klaassen off his penultimate delivery, which came through a superb backward diving catch by Suyash Sharma, to give the local side a fantastic win.
The Hyderabad outfit needed five runs off the last ball but skipper Pat Cummins failed to connect the ball, as Rana finished with fine figures (3/33).

Chasing the imposing target on a beautiful batting deck at Eden Gardens, Hyderabad found themselves at 145/5, needing 61 runs from 19 balls before Klaasen came in.

Earlier, openers Mayank Agarwal and Abhishek Sharma, who both scored identical 32, gave SRH a perfect start.

The duo made 60 runs in 33 balls before Agarwal was dismissed by Rana. Before Rana got into the act, KKR’s trump card Narine dished out his sorcery. The West Indian bowled from seventh to 13th over, and gave away just 19 runs in four overs.

He took only one wicket but stifled SRH’s progress in the middle-overs.

However, KKR’s fielding was an eyesore. Varun Chakravarthy’s fitness was always a concern and it came to fore when he dropped a dolly to deprive Narine the wicket of Rahul Tripathi.

The former KKR batter got another reprieve in the next over and this time impact player Suyash failed to hold on to a return catch. It would have been a boundary, but umpire Yeshwant Barde got in the way of the ball, leaving him grounded. (PTI)

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