The pendulum swung dramatically as the things neared the end, but Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) held their nerve and beat the spirited Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 2 of the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in Sharjah on Wednesday and set up the blockbuster final showdown against the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, which will take place in Dubai on Friday.
Needing 136 runs to win, KKR were off to a brisk start, courtesy Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer. The pair cashed in on all the scoring opportunities and took KKR to 51/0 at the end of the powerplay.
The two continued to build on to the solid start and added 25 runs more in the next four overs as KKR moved to 76/0 at the halfway stage. Two overs later, Iyer brought up his fifty – third of the season.
DC though managed to get Iyer out in the next over just when he and Gill were inching closer to a hundred-run stand. While Nitish Rana and Gill added 27 runs together, DC continued to put in a fight and scalped three wickets, conceding just three runs as KKR moved from 123/1 to 126/4 at the end of the 18th over – an over where Kagiso Rabada conceded just a run and picked up a wicket.
Anrich Nortje then had the better of Eoin Morgan in the penultimate over as DC pushed KKR to score 7 runs in the final over.
Ashwin then scalped two wickets, dismissing Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine – in the first four balls of the last over. However, with 6 runs to get from the last 2 balls, Rahul Tripathi creamed a maximum to help KKR seal a place in the final.
Earlier, KKR, who elected to bowl, remained unchanged while DC brought in Marcus Stoinis in place of Tom Curran.
KKR made a tight start as Shakib Al Hasan bowled one-run over before Lockie Ferguson conceded just fours in the second over. Prithvi Shaw though took on Shakib in the third over, creaming a six and a four as DC scored 12 runs in the over.
Shikhar Dhawan then tonked two maximums in Sunil Narine’s first over as DC moved to 32/0 after four overs. However, Varun Chakaravarthy’s introduction into the attack gave KKR their first breakthrough as the spinner dismissed Shaw.
Stoinis replaced Shaw in the middle and he and Dhawan took DC past fifty in the eighth over. KKR though kept things tight and were rewarded with the second DC wickets when Shivam Mavi disturbed the timber to get Stoinis out in the 12th over.
Three overs later, Chakaravarthy picked his second wicket as Shakib took a fine catch to dismiss Dhawan for 36. Ferguson then had the better of DC skipper Rishabh Pant in the 16th over as Rahul Tripathi completed the catch.
Shimron Hetmyer got a life even in the next over as Gill put in a sensational effort in the deep as Chakaravarthy overstepped by the slightest of margins. The left-hander made the most of it, hammering two sixes in the next over.
While he was run-out in the penultimate over, Iyer, who scored an unbeaten 30 – a knock which included a last-ball six, took DC to 135/5.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 136/7 (Venkatesh Iyer 55, Shubman Gill 46; Kagiso Rabada 2/23) beat Delhi Capitals 135/5 (Shikhar Dhawan 36, Shreyas Iyer 30*; Varun Chakaravarthy 2/26) by 3 wickets.