Kolkata Knight Riders picked up a crucial IPL 2023 win by five runs over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in a closely fought match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
The Knights set a fighting target of 172 runs after their first innings efforts, with Rinku Singh top-scoring with 46 runs (35b, 4×4, 1×6) while skipper Nitish Rana chipped in with 42 runs (31b, 3×4, 3×6). Hyderabad came close to completing the chase led by Aiden Markram’s 41 runs (40b, 4×4) and Heinrich Klassen’s 36 runs (20b, 1×4, 3×6). However, the Kolkata bowlers kept it tight and picked up regular wickets in the last few overs to squeeze a win. This win helps 8th-place KKR keep pace with the playoff battle ahead of them, pushing for a late-season resurgence.
The match came down to a terrific final over from Varun Chakaravarthy, where he gave up just 3 runs when SRH needed 9 to get over the line for the win. Former Australia pacer Brett Lee complimented Chakaravarthy’s composure in the over, as he went on to win Player of the Match for his performance, “9 runs, 9 times out of 10, the chasing side would knock that off. There was one ball that could’ve gone for six but ended up being a wicket ball. That was a length where he could’ve gotten underneath that and sent it for six, but in hindsight, you’ve got to say they’ve done a terrific job.” He added, “I think that was good defending by KKR but equally, poor batting and a horrible display by the Sunrisers.”
The Sunrisers Hyderabad would’ve felt optimistic about their chances to win after KKR set a total of 171 runs, but changing weather conditions and some poor shot-making led to their loss. Former India cricketer Robin Uthappa questioned the way SRH batted in this must-win match on JioCinema, “They just fell apart there and there was too much for Abdul Samad to do in the end and he didn’t have enough backing. The batters got off to a decent start, and Mayank Agarwal got off to a great start. This one was unnecessary (Abhishek Sharma’s wicket), and the next one was even more unnecessary, just a disappointing shot after losing two wickets in the power play, you end up playing a big shot when you know there’s a fine leg back then. It’s a brain fade. Rahul Tripathi has been struggling for runs and Harry Brook today didn’t look like he was having the best time in India, besides the 100 that he got. Got out today again without troubling the bowlers.”
Former India cricketer Parthiv Patel lamented SRH’s decision choices while speaking on JioCinema, including hunting for a DLS win when they could’ve chased the target down, “KKR definitely won this game with the bowling changes they made, the way they trusted Varun Chakaravarthy with the last over. When Vaibhav Arora came to bowl, everyone wondered whether they should have let him bowl. But the Sunrisers’ tactics weren’t good. They lost the game where they were thinking more about DLS in the 17th over when they defended the final three balls. They were ahead but the rain didn’t stop and you can’t just assume that the match will stop. Their tactics were questionable there. You expect they win the match from their position.” (ANI)