Abu Dhabi: In the end the rain showed mercy and Kolkata Knight Riders, who bowled exceptionally well to restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to 128, cased down the revised total of 48 in six overs losing four wickets with four balls to spare.
KKR will now lock horns with Mumbai Indians on Friday for a place in the finals of the Indian Premier League against Rising Pune Supergiant.
Sunrisers induced some jitter by claiming three wickets in 1.1 overs and panic did set in the KKR camp. However, skipper Gautam Gambhir remained undeterred and saw his side home with an unbeaten 32 off 19 balls.
“A lot of credit to the bowlers, they set the game up for us. We should have been more sensible with the batting, though. But the bowlers restricting the Sunrisers batting to 128 was brilliant,” said a jubilant Gambhir after surviving a scare that would have sent his side packing out of the tournament had there been no play possible.
“There has been times when we’ve lacked intensity. And every run we stop on the field is one less to score and all 11 players were up for that. They knew that last time Sunrisers beat us in this Eliminator and they got it back for us,” added Gambhir, who felt that the wicket was much better than one they had played on against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“It was a much better wicket and the ball was coming onto the bat nicely in our innings. I think if you target 160 you will get a good score. You can’t just go on looking for 200 every game,” said Gambhir, who accepted that he and his team was nervous when rain threatened to stay on.
“You do get nervous [about the rain] and we have played really well this season and our bowlers put in an unbelievable effort. If we had gone out after the rain, it wouldn’t have been good,” revealed Gambhir, adding that he and his team are now keen to settle scores against Mumbai on Friday.
“We don’t have a good record against Mumbai, but hopefully we can settle that tomorrow,” asserted Gambhir.
Sunrisers’ skipper David Warner felt that his side were “30 runs short”.
“It was quite a tough wicket to bat on. The ball was holding up a bit. It’s been quite a disappointing wicket all season. And they bowled really well on it,” said Warner.
He added: “The way we batted wasn’t good enough and six over games can be niggly. We had to come out with positive intent, got three wickets, but we knew they would come hard and it happened.”
The Australian was of the view that his team was equally good as they were when they won the title last year.
“We found some good talent, we played some good cricket with bat and ball, whereas last year it was either bat or ball. Thanks to all the people in Hyderabad, without you guys we wouldn’t be out here playing,” said Warner.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, who came into the match after recovering from a head injury, claimed 3 wickets for 20 and walked away with the man of the match award. He said: “Didn’t expect it to affect me as much as it did [the head injury]. I went to bed at 10pm and woke up at 7pm the next day and I had headaches. Finally over that.
“All our bowlers were good. [Piyush] Chawla was good, getting the wicket of Warner, who could turn a score of 130 to 160. Intensity starts in the first over, with Umesh [Yadav] making Warner play and miss. When it was raining, we were quietly confident because 12.50am was the cut off time. But it rained and rained and we were itchy.”