IPL 2017
Riders on the Top!
By B Dixit - Apr 17, 2017 3:46 pm
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A target of 169 is a tricky one in T20 cricket. It is not as gigantic as any of the 200+ chases. But then, it isn’t as paltry as anything around 100 to chase. Runs are required at a fair pace to chase anything around 170.

And when runs are required at a steady rate, what generally works in the favour of the batting team is the wickets in hand. But when Kolkata Knight Riders were reduced to 21-3 in 2.5 overs, it seemed that Delhi Daredevils would go past the visitors as far as the final outcome of the game is concerned.

Experiments at the top of the order continued for the Knight Riders. Colin de Grandhomme was sent in as the makeshift opener today along with his captain, Gautam Gambhir. His strike rate of 170.71 is the highest among players with 1000+ runs in T20 cricket. Zaheer Khan drew the first blood as he got rid of de Grandhomme in the first over itself.

Man of the Match in the previous match, Robin Uthappa failed to make an impact today as Rishabh Pant’s acrobatic catch off Pat Cummins’ ball saw him walking back to the pavilion. Mr. Consistent for the Knight Riders, Gambhir became Zaheer Khan’s next victim in the following over.

From a situation where Knight Riders’ chances of a win seemed bleak, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan started a rescue act. They never let the fall of wickets dominate the required run rate. Kolkata reached to 49-3 after the powerplay. By the halfway mark, the score was 88-3. Knight Riders required to win 81 in 10 overs from hereon.

With the way in which Pandey and Pathan were batting, it seemed a cakewalk for them. The next over saw Pandey completing 2000 runs in the IPL. He, along with Pathan, was severe on the opposition bowlers. A blend of proper cricketing shots and calculated worked for the Knight Riders. In the 14th over, Pathan hit Zaheer Khan for a six to notch his half-century. However, he got out in the next over.

In walked Suryakumar Yadav. Pandey completed his ninth IPL helf-century in the 16th over. KKR required 28 runs in four overs to win the match. Yadav was dismissed in the 18th over but an in-form Pandey still held the key for KKR. Requiring 16 to win off the last two overs, Knight Riders only managed seven in the penultimate over.

With Chris Woakes on strike, Zaheer Khan gave the ball to Amit Mishra. Bringing all his experience into play, Mishra bowled the first two deliveries without conceding a run and dismissing Woakes. Sunil Narine took a single on the third delivery to bring back Pandey on strike. A six down long-on by Pandey reduced the occasion to 2 runs from 2 balls. Pandey ran a couple of runs on the penultimate delivery to seal the match for his team.

In what a victory from the jaws of defeat, full credit goes to the duo of Pandey and Pathan. With 221 runs in four matches, Pandey has now acquired the Orange Cap from his skipper. An average of 221 and a strike rate of 150.34 speaks volume about his consistency. Watch the full video of the last over:

Video Credits – IPL.
Featured image source: iplt20.com (screen grab)

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