Former Knights are coming hard at Kolkata Knight Riders this season. After Delhi Capitals’ Kuldeep Yadav wrecked them in the last match picking up four wickets, it was Rahul Tripathi who laid the foundation for Sunrisers Hyderabad’s seven-wicket victory against KKR at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.
AS IT HAPPENED | SCORECARD | POINTS TABLE
The KKR top order looked all at sea in trying to negotiate the SRH pacers after being asked to bat first by skipper Kane Williamson on a greenish wicket that offered both bounce and movement. However, some judicious batting by Nitin Rana (54 off 36) and big hits from Andre Russell (49 off 25) towards the end saw KKR put up a fighting 175 for eight.
Their bowlers made the right start picking up both the in-form SRH openers – Williamson and Abhishek Sharma – inside the Powerplay. But Tripathi stepped in and started playing his shots all over the park. The Maharashtra batter collected 18 runs, including two consecutive sixes off Varun Chakravarthy’s first over. It was a night to forget for Chakravarthy, who ended up giving away 45 runs in his three overs.
Keeping to SRH’s brand of cricket, it was again a partnership, this time a 54-ball 94-run third-wicket stand between Tripathi and Aiden Markram, that gave the side a hat-trick of wins. While Tripathi, who got his first 50 since his days with KKR in 2021, left for a well-made 71 off 37 balls, Markram finished it off with a flourish to remain undefeated on 68 off 36 balls.
KKR replacing Ajinkya Rahane with Aaron Finch in search of a good start did not pay dividends as the Australian T20 skipper lasted just five deliveries before being caught behind by Nicholas Pooran off Marco Jansen in the second over of the match.
T Natarajan then struck twice in his first over after coming in as the first change bowler in the fifth over. The left-arm pacer had his first delivery to seam back and crash into the stumps through the gates of KKR other opener Venkatesh Iyer. He next got Sunil Narine, promoted up the order, a ball later when the left-hander sliced a low full-toss straight to Shashank Singh at cover-point after hitting a six in the previous delivery.
But it was Umran Malik who left a deep impression with some sensational pace bowling. The youngster, maturing with each game, provided a timely breakthrough by bringing an end to the 39-run fourth-wicket stand between Shreyas Iyer and Nitish Rana with a crashing yorker that shattered the KKR skipper’s stumps.
Sheldon Jackson, who came in for Sam Billings, hit Malik for a six, but the pacer responded well by having the wicketkeeper-batter caught brilliantly by Natarajan at fine leg in the very next delivery. It’s not always one gets to see Russell failing to get his bat on the ball and the 22-year-old Srinagar boy must be proud of the way he did that by conceding just two runs to the big West Indian in the 16th over to finish with two for 27 in his four overs, his best IPL show.