Starc and Iyers catapult KKR into Grand Final

cricket21 May 2024 18:02| © AFP

Venkatesh and Shreyas Iyer both scored unbeaten half centuries to see the table-topping Kolkata Knight Riders gallop into Sunday’s IPL grand final with a crushing, eight-wicket victory in the Qualifier Match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Mitchell Starc ripped through the Hyderabad top order to lead the way with the Sunrisers dismissed for a distinctly under-par total of 159 in 19.3 overs after they chose to bat first and KKR storming to 164-2 in just 13.4 overs.

The Knight Riders progress straight to the grand final on Sunday.

Australian left-arm pacer Starc was the most expensive signing in IPL history and finally justified his price tag after a largely disappointing campaign with figures of 3-34 from his four overs as the Sunrisers slumped to 39-4 after five overs.

Afghan opener, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (23) and Sunil Narine (21) gave the run chase a flying start facing just 30 balls between them but the next two batsmen were in an even greater hurry with Venkatesh finishing unbeaten on 51 from 28 balls (5x4, 4x6) and Shreyas even quicker with 58* from 24 balls with an identical boundary count.

Starc’s early burst saw the Sunrisers crash to 39-4 but Rahul Tripathi (55 from 35 balls) and Heinrich Klaasen (32 from 21) added 62 for the fifth wicket to revive the Orange Army’s hopes.

But when Klaasen was caught on the midwicket boundary and Tripathi was run out by Andre Russell attempting a non-existent single KKR regained complete control.

Legspinner Varun Chakravarthy was outstanding with 2-26 but the Sunrisers were once again given some hope late in the innings when captain Pat Cummins (30 from 24 balls) dominated a 10th-wicket stand of 33 with Vijayakanth Viyaskanth (7) which took the total from a virtually undefendable 126-9.

Sunrisers, courtesy of finishing second on the log, will enjoy a ‘second bite of the cherry’ in the second Qualifier Match (on Friday) against the winner of the Eliminator match between the Rajasthan Royals and the Royal Challengers Bengaluru on Wednesday.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wkt), Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer (captain), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakaravarthy

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD: Travis Head, Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Reddy, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt) Abdul Samad, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pat Cummins (captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, T Natarajan