IPL-Playoffs: Rashid blitz lift Sunrisers to 174/7 against KKR

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Kolkata, May 25 (IANS) Rashid Khan blunted chinaman Kuldeep Yadav’s two crucial wickets in one over with an unbeaten 10-ball 34 cameo to propel Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to 174/7 in 20 overs against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Qualifier 2 at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.

Coming in to bat when Sunrisers were still below par on 134/6, Afghanistan’s Rashid smoked two fours and four sixes to stitch together a 36-run unbroken eighth wicket stand off 11 balls with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5 not out) as 74 runs came in the final six overs.

In the final over, Prasidh Krishna (0/56) conceded 24 runs with Rashid hitting a four and two sixes, his second one an exquisite flick over deep backward square leg.

Earlier in the eighth over, Kuldeep (2/29) removed in-form batsmen Shikhar Dhawan (34; 24b; 4×4, 1×6) and captain Kane Williamson (3) to expose Sunrisers’ weak middle order as the visitors clawed to 79/2 in 10 overs.

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The left-arm spinner was then involved in a run out off his own bowling to get rid of Shakib Al Hasan (28; 24b; 4×4) — playing in place of Manish Pandey — in the 16th over to further dent Sunrisers’ endeavour.

Mystery spinner Sunil Narine (1/24) and leggie Piyush Chawla (1/22) were also good in the middle overs to throw a spanner in the works of their rivals. The league leaders could never recover from there in the final few overs, until Rashid came to the party.

Stumper Wriddhiman Saha (35; 27b; 5×4) — bought in the side in place of state-mate Sreevats Goswami — was the top-scorer for the hosts. Saha was dropped by KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik when he was batting on 5 off Shivam Mavi (1/30).

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Openers Dhawan and Saha gave Sunrisers a good start before the former was removed by Kuldeep in his very first ball of the match.

Trying to sweep a straight delivery, Dhawan saw the ball hit his back thigh and in line for a plumb lbw.

Three balls later, it was double whammy for KKR as a brilliant Kuldeep googly got the outside edge of Williamson (3) who trudged back to the pavillion on a single-digit score for the first time in eight matches.

Saha, playing after a gap of five matches after he was dropped due to a poor run with the bat (87 runs from 10 matches at an average of 12.42), looked good during his stay in the middle before a sensational stumping from Karthik brought an end to it off Chawla’s bowling.

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It was a struggle for Sunrisers from there on as Shakib and Hooda could not get the better of KKR’s spin troika.

Shakib hit Narine for two back-to-back boundaries in the 15th over after they huffed and puffed to 100/3 in 14 overs. Shakib was soon run out while Deepak Hooda (19; 19b; 1×6) tried to reverse sweep Narine but holed out to Chawla at point.

Rashid then pulled his team out of a hole with some amazing shots.

Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 174/7 in 20 overs (Wriddhiman Saha 35, Shikhar Dhawan 34, Rashid Khan 34, Kuldeep Yadav 2/29) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.

–IANS

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