SRH are slowly getting their mojo back after the mid-season turmoil. They are back in the top four with this win. The usual suspects - Warner, Bairstow & Rashid - were once again the star-performers on a day when they won the game easily.
After opting to bowl first, the SRH bowlers were taken for cleaners with seven boundaries being scored off the first 15 deliveries. Khaleel made a comeback by accounting for both Narine & Gill in consecutive overs. SRH’s bowlers kept KKR under check by taking 4 wickets by the 9th over and also kept things tight in the middle overs to keep SRH ahead in the game. Rashid bowled a magical 18th over giving away just 1 run to dash any hopes that KKR might have had of a strong finish and thus restricted KKR to a below-par score of 159.
Bairstow and Warner made a mockery of KKR’s bowling and raced to 72/0 by the end of the powerplay. Bairstow was aided by some sloppy work in the field by KKR. He was dropped thrice, the first when he had just opened his account. Warner on the other end just kept milking the wayward and uninspiring bowling of KKR to reach his fifty. By the time Warner fell in the 13th over, a win was a mere formality which Bairstow obliged by taking SRH across the line with a pair of maximums in the 15th over.
Warner scored his 6th fifty of the season and his 42nd overall. He also became the first batsmen to reach the tally of 500 runs this season and in the process got the unique distinction of doing this in all the five seasons that he has been a part of the SRH. Bairstow, top-scored for SRH with 80*(43) & with 445 runs in the season, he is not just second in the list of top scorers, but he now also holds the record for most runs scored by a batsman in his debut season (not accounting for the 2008 season). Khaleel was adjudged the MoM for his figures of 4-0-33-3.
This loss was akin to surrender and it seems that KKR has just forgotten the art of winning. They made three changes to bring a ‘breath of fresh air’ but the continued failures of Gill & Karthik in the middle order and over-dependence on Russell to provide the late flourish has left them in a soup.
After being put in to bat, KKR were off to a flyer with Narine reaching 25 off just 7 deliveries. Despite his and Gill’s quick wickets, KKR had still reached 61/2 at the end of the powerplay. After Dinesh fell in the 9th over to a suicidal run out, Rinku Singh and Chris Lynn stitched a partnership of 51 off 43 deliveries, but it seems to have done more harm than good to KKR’s chances. They not just failed to keep the momentum going but also kept Andre Russel away from the action. A rare failure of Russel led to KKR managing a below-par score of 159.
The less we say about KKR’s bowling and fielding the better off we are. KKR had brought in Yarra Prithviraj & KC Cariappa to plug in the loopholes in their bowling. Prithviraj looked good in patches and was unfortunate when Bairstow was dropped in his very first over by Cariappa. Cariappa then was taken for 20 runs in his first over to add misery to what was already turning out be a disappointing match for him. Even the experienced duo of Chawla & Narine couldn’t keep SRH in check, they returned with a combined tally of 7-0-72-0, and the three dropped catches just rubbed salt to KKR’s wounds.
Lynn top-scored for KKR with 51(47), but it was also his slowest IPL fifty. Rinku Singh and Sunil Narine were the other notable contributors with scores of 30 & 25 respectively. Yarra Prithviraj, playing his debut IPL match was the sole wicket-taker for the Knight Riders.
SRH will be on the road to play against CSK & RR on the 23rd & the 27th respectively. Though they are gaining some momentum, what must be bothering them is the unavailability of both Warner & Bairstow if they qualify for the playoffs. The jointly have scored 71% of SRH’s runs this season and this can come back to haunt the team in the playoffs.
KKR will be playing their next two games within the confines of home comfort where they will be hosting RR & MI on the 25th & the 28th respectively. They have to win every match from now on. KKR’s think tank has faced some flak over Russell’s batting position, probably it’s time that they promote Russel up the order to give their best batsman of the season the chance to play as many deliveries as possible.
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