Kolkata to face Mumbai for IPL final berth

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 19, 2017

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile believes batting would be pivotal in their upcoming playoff encounter against Mumbai Indians on a "slow, low track" of M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

Opting to bowl first, KKR produced a disciplined bowling and fielding effort to first restrict Sunrisers to a modest 128 for seven and then overwhelmed the revised target of 48 in six overs with consummate ease.

In the eliminator game, just after Hyderabad's innings, rain interrupted the game and halted the proceedings for more than three hours.

KKR's innings started late in the night.

But two quick wickets in successive balls changed the complexion of the game.

At the start, Chris Lynn was on the money right away, smacking Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six in the first ball he faced.

Skipper Gautam Gambhir, who is placed in the second spot in the most runs list with 486 runs, will hope to lead from the front.

KKR overwhelmed the target with four balls to spare. The 19-year-old leggie has picked up 17 wickets at an incredible economy rate 6.67.

Kolkata will face Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier on Friday at the same venue and the victor of this match will go through to the final and play Rising Pune Supergiant on May 21 at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad.

Rain played spoilsport as a second spell of showers ensured Kolkata wouldn't have to bat for 20 overs. Coulter-Nile leaked just three runs from the penultimate over with Trent Boult (1/30) allowing just seven in the final over also taking the wicket of Naman Ojha (16) off the final ball. He was ably supported by Umesh Yadav (2/21).

KKR's bowling has been superb as was on show in the last game.

With the boundaries hard to come by, Warner finally broke the shackles in the ninth over clobbering Piyush Chawla's (1/27) short delivery over midwicket boundary for a maximum.

Coulter-Nile came back into the attack in the 19th over and removed the unsafe Vijay Shankar, who was looking to provide some momentum to Hyderabad's innings with some hefty blows. At the halfway stage, the defending champions were 61/1.

With time Warner grew in confidence and his big hitting skills came to the fore.

KKR's West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine. Yuvraj Singh's stint in the middle too was brief. Though he claimed three wickets, that of Kane Williamson, Chris Jordan and Vijay Shankar, he felt it was the wicket of Warner that proved to be the "turning point". Unlike past year, where five totals of 200 or more were scored, the average first-innings score here this season was 148, something Sunrisers were targeting upon being put in to bat.

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