Catches let down KKR: In a format that is generally unforgiving for clubs with hit rates below 100, KL Rahul almost ended up on the wrong side. From his team’s two-run loss to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) last season, to the embarrassment of missing four runs in the final against Rajasthan Royals last week. Rahul knows all about the smallest limits that stand in his way. He didn’t want to leave the job to anyone else. And so he waited for his moment when Shahrukh Khan hit a six and a line before surviving a controversial reversal of a catch by Rahul Tripathi only to fall when the Punjab Kings demanded four of four. This time, however, Khan led the team home with a six that could easily have been a catch had Tripathi held his ground.
HIGHLIGHTS: Catches let down KKR as Shahrukh Khan wins it for Punjab
Catches let down KKR: It shouldn’t be that close. But on a slow pitch where KKR with Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy were able to deftly serve the ball, Rahul’s waiting game made sense. After 10 overs it was 28 of 30. After 12 it was 34 of 35.
All of this, while Rahul was mostly at the bottom of the non-forward, watching his fellow state Mayank Agarwal almost flee with the game before bringing Chakravarthy to cover for Eoin Morgan. Nicholas Pooran threatened to fight his way to the end, but he also offered seven balls before Chakravarthy caught him. Rahul was careful to shift gears, beating Venkatesh Iyer by a six, slowing Tim Southee’s by another before waiting for loose balls.
Crucial to the match was also how KKR’s flow of runs drowned out in the final five overs, as they only managed to add 44 runs at the cost of four wickets. Eoin Morgan’s terrible run continued as he walked over the tree stumps and attempted to throw Mohammed Shami behind the plaza. But Shami’s direct delivery hit his foot off the stumps on the plumb line.
True to his attacking self, Nitish Rana unleashed a series of sixes.
But missed Arshdeep‘s well-camouflaged Slower, who was caught by Agarwal in the depths. From that ball to the last of 15 total innings, KKR was unable to reach a limit.
Tim Seifert, who played his first IPL match for KKR, had too few deliveries to impress.
Sensing his desperation to score quickly. Shami tried a good distance before hitting a fifth Blunt Yorker. That Seifert eventually connected but failed to finish the run.
Between Narine and Dinesh Karthik the next eight installments were a fight to hold the ball. Until Arshdeep hit Karthik’s center stump in the last installment of the inning. However, KKR did not have to rely solely on the last five overs to achieve a challenging overall result.
Shubman Gill was knocked down early by a beautiful delivery from Arshdeep. Who came back only slightly to sneak through their doors and find themselves in the middle. But between Iyer, 67, Tripathi (34), and Rana (31), KKR quickly snatched control over the entrances.
Central to his recovery was Iyer’s bold hitting. Putting a heavy load on Nathan Ellis and Fabian Allen’s slow left bowling rhythm. To reach his second fifty of this IPL and anchor a responsible 72-run partnership with Tripathi. Everything seemed to be going well. Until Arshdeep and Shami teamed up to deny KKR a final rebound and only allowed 14 runs in the final two overs.
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