Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets to qualify for IPL 2024 Final

Kolkata Knight Riders outplayed Sunrisers Hyderabad in every facet of the game to qualify for the final of the 2024 Indian Premier League season.

Pat Cummins won the toss and decided to bat first while Shreyas Iyer felt that he would have fielded first if he won the coin flip on the evening.

Two Australians kicked off the proceedings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday as Mitchell Starc bowled to Travis Head and the left-arm fast bowler went through the gates of the SRH opening batter dismissing him on a silver duck.

Rahul Tripathi scored the first boundary of the day as he pierced the gap between point and backward point on the fourth ball of the first over. Tripathi scored another boundary on the last ball of the over silencing the critics who were questioning his place in the team.

Abhishek Sharma, playing his first IPL playoff match, scored a double on the first ball of the second over but later fell to Vaibhav Arora as Andre Russell completed a fine catch at cover as KKR deflated the SRH opening pair within 11 balls of the first playoff match of IPL 2024.

Despite two early wickets, Tripathi continued to play his natural game as he swatted the ball past Rahmanullah Gurbaz for his third boundary of the evening in Starc’s second over of the evening. Tripathi continued the onslaught in Arora’s second over with another boundary in the mid-wicket region, this time off a no-ball but failed to make the most of the free hit.

After his first boundary against Starc, Nitish Reddy’s time at the crease was up as he tonked the ball straight up in the air allowing Gurbaz to complete an easy catch. Shahbaz Ahmed was promoted ahead of Heinrich Klassen by the Daniel Vettori-coached side but the all-rounder chopped the ball back onto his stumps with SRH reeling at a score of 39/4 after five overs.

Klaasen arrived on the scene in style with a boundary off Harshit Rana’s bowling helping SRH close out the powerplay overs at 45/4. Sunil Narine was introduced into the attack after the powerplay overs and was miserly yet again as SRH completed 50 runs by the end of the seventh over.

Tripathi broke the lull of boundary-less overs as he helped a bouncer from Rana fly over the third-man region for the first maximum of the match. On the second ball of the ninth over, Narine also conceded his first boundary of the evening as Tripathi paddle-swept the ball over the wicket-keeper’s head.

Later in the same over, Klaasen timed the ball over Russell at long-off for the second maximum of the evening followed by a four through the wide long-off region with Russell scrambling with his dive in vain.

The partnership between Tripathi and Klaasen reached the 50-run milestone off 28 balls courtesy of two boundaries from the former KKR batter against Russell in the 10th over. Shreyas Iyer tried to break the partnership by introducing star spinner Varun Chakravarthy but the bowler started with a no-ball and Tripathi once again failed to make the most of the free hit.

Tripathi brought up his maiden half-century of the 2024 IPL season with a reverse-sweep that ran to the fence helping the Sunrisers reach the 100-run milestone as well. After the erroneous bowling display, Chakravarthy finally struck as Klaasen found Rinku Singh in the deep and went to the pavilion after scoring 32 runs off 21 balls.

Abdul Samad walked out in a time of crisis and sent Narine flying over the ropes with a maximum off his first ball of the innings. The Kalakote-born batter once again scored a huge maximum against Narine on the first ball of the 14th over signalling a turn in the tide in favor of SRH. But, Russell’s dynamic fielding efforts and Samad’s unawareness cost the well-set Tripathi as Gurbaz knocked the bails off ending Tripathi’s innings at 55 runs off 35 balls.

On the very next ball, the impact substitute, Sanvir Singh was clean bowled by Narine who had failed to produce a wicket in his first 20 balls forcing skipper Pat Cummins to come out to bat in the 14th over.

Rana’s re-introduction into the bowling attack meant an end for Abdul Samad who was caught in the deep by KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer. Chakravarthy then tightened the noose around the Knight Riders’ neck by conceding one run and dismissing Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 16th over.

With a boundary and a maximum, Cummins helped SRH cross the 140-run mark in the 18th over as KKR fans continued to wonder when Starc would get the ball in his hand for his last over. Starc finally bowled the 19th over but the last two balls went for a six and a four as Cummins got the better of his compatriot.

Russell took his first wicket of the evening as Cummins was dismissed for 30 runs off 24 balls setting a respectable target of 160 runs for the Knight Riders to chase in the second innings.

While SRH lost their best batter on the second ball of the innings, Gurbaz smashed the ball towards the boundary on Bhuvneshwar’s second ball. Narine continued the onslaught with two consecutive boundaries off Cummins’ first two balls followed by a maximum from Gurbaz’s bat.

After the Sunrisers wasted both of their DRS calls unsuccessfully, Gurbaz smacked another maximum, this time off Bhuvneshwar’s bowling followed by a four on the next ball. T Natarajan’s introduction into the attack turned the tide in SRH’s favor as Gurbaz lost his wicket after some fireworks at the start as Vijayakanth Viyaskanth completed the catch at cover.

Like many SRH middle-order batters, Venkatesh Iyer procured a boundary off his first ball of the innings glancing the ball towards the boundary and played a similar shot in the next over getting another four against his name followed by another boundary in the long-off region.

After four dot balls in the sixth over, Narine scored a boundary against Natarajan who was proving to be a menace for the KKR bowlers on Tuesday evening. On the first ball of the 7th over, Cummins got Narine to edge the ball but the ball flew to the fence and that was the last drop of luck from Narine’s elixir as the all-rounder was caught in the deep by Viyaskanth.

The loss of Narine didn’t deter Venkatesh who smashed a maximum off Cummins followed by another six welcoming Viyaskanth into the firing line. Another sublime hit against Cummins awarded the Madhya Pradesh batter four runs followed by Shreyas Iyer scoring his first boundary of the innings later in the same over.

In the 10th over, Viyaskanth could have dismissed skipper Iyer as Klaasen ran towards the ball and collected it in his mitts but a collision with Tripathi caused the ball to pop out of his hands. The proceedings at the other end didn’t have an effect on Venkatesh who smacked another maximum off the Sri Lankan spinner on the last ball of the over.

Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer built a solid partnership for the third wicket

On the first ball of the 11th over, Natarajan could have had his second wicket of the evening as Shreyas slapped the ball straight towards Head who continued to have a poor evening as he spilt the easy sitter. On the very next ball, the Mumbai batter smashed the ball over the long-off region for a maximum and ended the over with another four through the third-man region.

Head was introduced into the bowling attack, probably with an eye on Qualifier 2, and Shreyas wasn’t messing about as he swept the ball towards the boundary. In the next over, Reddy was also pulled towards the fence for another boundary by Shreyas followed by another maximum by Venkatesh on the last ball of the over bringing up his half-century off 28 balls.

With 18 runs required off 42 balls, it was a mere formality and Shreyas decided to put a stamp on it by smashing three sixes and a four off the first four balls of Head’s second over bringing up his half-century as well inside 23 balls.

The Knight Riders have now qualified for their fourth IPL final and will be vying for their third title on Sunday against the winner of Qualifier 2.