Match Report – KKR vs SRH Qualifier 1, May 21, 2024

Kolkata Knight Riders 164 for 2 (Shreyas 58*, Venkatesh 51, Natarajan 1-22) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 159 (Tripathi 55, Starc 3-34, Varun 2-26) by eight wickets

Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma are used to going bang, bang and pretty much killing off games in the first six overs at IPL 2024. But in the first qualifier in Ahmedabad, it was Mitchell Starc who went bang, bang, bang in the powerplay to secure Kolkata Knight Riders’ spot in the IPL final on Sunday in Chennai.

After Starc scythed through SRH’s top order in an opening spell of 3-0-22-3, Varun Chakravarthy took over in the middle overs to help dismiss SRH for 159 in 19.3 overs.

In reply, Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer made unbeaten half-centuries as KKR ran down the target with more than six overs to spare.

Sunrisers Hyderabad will face the winner of the Eliminator between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, for a shot at a rematch with KKR in the final.

Swingin’ Starc

Starc’s first ball to Head was an outswinger that was squeezed to extra cover. His second threatened to angle in, but swung and seamed away late to breach the defences of Head and leave his stumps splayed.

Head was gone for a duck. This was the fifth time that Starc had taken out Head across formats – four of those wickets ducks.

In the second over, pacer Vaibhav Arora, who was picked ahead of spinner Anukul Roy on a surface that was a mix of red and black soil and had some early moisture, had Abhishek Sharma scooping a catch to Andre Russell at short cover for 3.

SRH plunged into further trouble when Starc snagged Nitish Kumar Reddy (9) and Shahbaz Ahmed (0) off successive balls in his third over. Starc could have also dismissed Rahul Tripathi in his second over when he speared in a yorker that struck him flush on his boot and would have cannoned into leg stump. But KKR decided against a review and SRH went on to finish the powerplay on 45 for 4. Only twice in 14 innings have SRH scored fewer runs in the powerplay in IPL 2024.

Tripathi counters KKR

Tripathi, who kept his place at No. 3, repaired SRH’s innings with a half-century. He combined power with invention to manufacture scoring opportunities. He whacked Arora over midwicket and ramped a bouncer from Harshit Rana for six. He reached his fifty off 29 balls when he reverse-swept Varun for four.

Tripathi, however, could not press on as Russell capitalised on a mix-up to run him out for 55 off 35 balls. Tripathi was so distraught that he sat on the stairs in Ahmedabad, with his head buried in his knee, for a long time. That image of Tripathi summed up SRH’s night.

Full report to follow…

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