IPL 2018 | Match 54 | SRH vs KKR: Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by five wickets last night to snatch the third playoff spot.

This is the third consecutive defeat faced by SRH but they remain on top with two chances at the finals and will look to learn from all their mistakes and hopefully not repeat them.

SRH won the toss and opted to bat. They were constrained to 172 for nine with a flying start from Shikhar Dhawan (50) and newbie Shreevats Goswami (35). Goswami was replacing Alex Hales in his absence and he made up for it quite spectacularly, keeping the run rate high throughout his cameo. In the third over, he took Andre Russell to the bleachers with 20 runs and led on to bring their power-play score up to 60. After his dismissal mid-innings by Kuldeep Yadav, Kane Williamson’s 17 ball 36 kept the momentum going as he hit three sixes, two of which were off consecutive balls in Javon Searles’ over. Searles, however, took revenge as he dismissed him two balls later. Meanwhile, Dhawan was saved once as Sunil Narine dropped his catch but he could not bank on the extra life as he was served an lbw by Prasidh Krishna five runs later. Manish Pandey‘s cameo added 25 runs to the score, but his partners kept falling like dominoes. The team crossed the 100-mark in the eleventh over but were reduced to scoring only 45 runs in the last seven overs. Four wickets were taken in the final over including the final ball, ending the innings at 172 for nine.

Prasidh Krishna was the team’s best bowler last night as he finished with a figure of 4/30. KKR mixed and matched with their bowlers with seven bowlers coming on to the crease. The wide assortment definitely threw the SRH batsmen off their target but 172 was not that bad of a score.

With a target of 173, KKR opened their chase with Chris Lynn (55) and Sunil Narine (29). The duo scored 52 runs in 3.4 overs starting the innings off with a bang. Narine’s 29 off 10 was interrupted by his dismissal by Shakib Al Hasan in the fourth over. Chris Lynn continued to smash boundaries and sixes as he managed 55 runs off 43 balls and went on to be titled “Man of the Match”. Narine was replaced by Robin Uthappa, whose 34 ball 45 kept the momentum going. Chris Lynn was dismissed in the fourteenth over by Siddharth Kaul to be replaced by captain Dinesh Karthik (26) who saw the team to its victory. With the loss of Lynn’s wicket, KKR faced a minor setback with 52 runs left off the last six overs, however, Karthik and Uthappa brought the target down to 26 runs off 24 balls with a few well-placed sixes. Uthappa was also taken out at a crucial period to be followed by Andre Russell (4) and Nitish Rana (7) but the smashing start kept the team going all the way to the end.

The SRH bowlers were no match for the KKR batsmen as even Rashid Khan had a wicket-less delivery last night, conceding 31 runs in his four overs. Siddharth Kaul (2/26) had an economical turn on the field while Bhuvaneshwar Kumar let slip 33 runs during his bowling quota. Carlos Brathwaite took out Uthappa in the seventeenth over only to come back in the final over to dismiss Rana. However, KKR was way ahead by that time and reached their target with two balls to spare.

Ever since SRH qualified for the playoffs, it seems they have been unable to handle their position on top with ease. Although their fantastic start in the season has given them more than enough space for a few losses, the air of being undefeatable has definitely been lifted. With their bowling attack being questioned more than ever, SRH will now enter the playoffs with either a loss of confidence or with a new sense of vigour.

KKR achieved what they needed with an overall even performance this season. The two-time IPL winners remained in the top four for most of the tournament and have now smoothly joined the Chennai Super Kings and the Sunrisers Hyderabad for the playoffs. Now, they can take a breath as they put their feet up and wait for the fourth playoff spot to be occupied.

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