IPL 2021: Kolkata's Knights eclipse Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL battle

James Jose/Chennai
Filed on April 11, 2021
Nitish Rana of Kolkata Knight Riders plays a shot during the IPL match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. — IPL

The Sunrisers Hyderabad’s pursuit of 188 was nipped in the bud after they had lost their openers

Two games in, teams chasing had got over the line, but the Kolkata Knight Riders bucked that trend, stubbing a late challenge from Sunrisers Hyderabad in the third fixture of this season’s IPL.

Their 10-run victory at the Chepauk in Chennai was built on a superlative batting show from opener Nitish Rana, with the southpaw conjuring a sumptuous 56-ball 80, peppered with nine boundaries and four sixes. His 12th IPL half-century and Rahul’s Tripathi’s sixth IPL fifty saw KKR put up 187 on the board.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad’s pursuit of 188 was nipped in the bud after they had lost their openers skipper David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha. Manish Pandey (61 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (55) did admirably well to resuscitate them from that situation and they almost made a fist of it. Mohammad Nabi, Vijay Shankar and Abdul Samad all came up with crucial cameos, but they just about fell short, finishing up at 177-5.

Earlier, KKR had looked good for a 200 but the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers managed to rein them in.

KKR lost a flurry of wickets, including those of Tripathi and dangerman Andre Russell, while Rana fell short in his pursuit of a maiden hundred. Skipper Eoin Morgan too fell cheaply as they ended up with much less than they would have hoped for.

Nonetheless, Rana’s knock was the centrepiece of KKR’s innings and his last six knocks in the IPL now reads 0 (1), 81 (53), 0 (1), 87 (61), 0 (1), 80 (56). Dinesh Karthik played a fine hand of 22 not out in nine balls.

“My game-plan is always that if the ball is in my slot, I’ll try to hit it. I was backing myself and looking to hit balls. I’ve been playing spin since childhood, so in a way, it’s in my blood,” Rana, who won the Man of the Match award, told the host broadcaster.

Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan said that the pre-season camp ahead of the tournament worked out well for his squad. The squad had trained at the KKR Academy and at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai before travelling to Chennai.

“I’m delighted with the win,” said Morgan.

“The build-up to the tournament has been pretty good. The camp before the tournament, the guys seemed to gel really well,” he added.

Morgan, who is also England’s limited-overs captain, heaped praise on the batsmen, especially Rana and Tripathi, for their attacking intent.

“I thought it was magnificent the way the guys batted at the top of the order particularly, Nitish and Tripathi. Nitish and Tripathi were absolutely outstanding and set up the game for our middle order to play in the manner we want to play. And the bowling too, we couldn’t have asked for a better start. It was a tight game against a really tough side. We thought if we bowled half-decently, we should get over the line. It is nice to start with a win but it’s obviously a long tournament,” added the 34-year-old.

Morgan’s opposite number Warner, meanwhile, felt that they failed to execute their plans while bowling and gave credit to the Kolkata Knight Riders batting line-up which adapted well to the conditions.

“I didn’t think there were that many runs on this wicket. They adapted really well, had a good partnership. We failed to execute with the ball and then conceded a lot at the end,” said Warner.

“We lost early wickets, and Jonny (Bairstow) and Manish (Pandey) got us in a good position, so we had our chances. The dew made a difference. If the bowlers overpitched, it was easy to hit it, and with the height in their team, and with the cross-seam, it stopped a little bit on us,” he added.

The Kolkata Knight Riders meet reigning champions Mumbai Indians in the next game on Tuesday, while the Sunrisers Hyderabad go up against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday. Both the matches are in Chennai.


Kolkata Knight Riders

N Rana c Shankar b M Nabi 80

S Gill b Rashid Khan 15

R Tripathi c Saha b Natarajan 53

A Russell c Pandey b R Khan 5

E Morgan c A Samad b M Nabi 2

D Karthik not out 22

Shakib c A Samad b Kumar 3

Extras (w7) 7

Total (6 wkts, 20 overs) 187

Fall of wickets: 1-53 (Gill), 2-146 (Tripathi), 3-157 (Russell), 4-160 (Nitish), 5-160 (Morgan), 6-187 (Shakib)

Bowling: B Kumar 4-0-45-1; S Sharma 3-0-35-0; T Natarajan 4-0-37-1; M Nabi 4-0-32-2; R Khan 4-0-24-2; V Shankar 1-0-14-0

Sunrisers Hyderabad

W Saha b Shakib Al Hasan 7

D Warner c Karthik b P Krishna 3

M Pandey not out 61

J Bairstow c Rana b Cummins 55

M Nabi c Morgan b P Krishna 14

V Shankar c Morgan b Russell 11

A Samad not out 19

Extras (b1, lb1, w5) 7

Total (5 wkts, 20 overs) 177

Fall of wickets: 1-10 (Warner), 2-10 (Saha), 3-102 (Bairstow), 4-131 (Nabi), 5-150 (Shankar)

Bowling: H Singh 1-0-8-0; P Krishna 4-0-35-2; Shakib 4-0-34-1; P Cummins 4-0-30-1; A Russell 3-0-32-1; V Chakravarthy 4-0-36-0

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