IPL 2021 Qualifier 2: KKR beat Delhi Capitals by 3 wickets, to face CSK in final
Venkatesh Iyer of Kolkata Knight Riders batting during Qualifier 2 against Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League at Sharjah, UAE on October 13, 2021.BCCI/IPL

IPL 2021 Qualifier 2: KKR beat Delhi Capitals by 3 wickets, to face CSK in final

Sharjah, October 13, 2021

Riding on a brilliant fifty by Venkatesh Iyer (55 off 41), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat Delhi Capitals by three wickets in a thrilling Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2021 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.

KKR will now face Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final, which is scheduled to be played at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.

A clinical bowling performance by their bowlers helped KKR restrict Delhi Capitals to 135/5 in 20 overs. For Delhi, Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Shreyas Iyer (30*) were the top-scorers while Varun Chakaravarthy (2/26) was the most successful bowler for KKR.

Chasing a total of 136 runs for victory, Iyer hit his third fifty of the season while Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana also made important contributions of 46 and 13, respectively, to help the team reach close to the finish line.

But things took a dramatic turn when Gill got out and KKR collapsed from 125 for 2 to 130 for 7 before Rahul Tripathi held his nerve and hit a six in the final over, leading his team to victory with just one ball left.

Earlier, put in to bat first, openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan gave Delhi Capitals a solid start, scoring 32/0 in 4 overs.

However, Kolkata bounced back with the wicket of Shaw (18), who was dismissed by Varun. The "mystery spinner" started his over with a googly and he straightaway trapped Shaw in front of the stumps.

After Prithvi's wicket, Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis joined forces and looked to maintain the run-flow. But KKR bowlers didn't allow them to score freely by bowling hard length deliveries. As a result, Delhi were 65/1 at the halfway mark, lurching towards the average total.

The pressure was building on Stoinis, who was promoted in the batting order despite coming from an injury. In order to score freely, the all-rounder gave himself room to hit one through the off side but missed a quick and cross-seamed delivery, which crashed into the stumps. Stoinis (18) and Dhawan added 39 runs for the 2nd wicket.

From there on, Kolkata continued to strangle the batters further and Delhi kept on losing wickets at regular intervals.

Dhawan, who scored 36 off 39, was the first to go. He charged down the track, trying to slam Chakaravarthy's delivery straight down the ground but the ball took the outside edge and Shakib did well to cover ground quickly and take a diving catch.

DC skipper Pant came to bat next and started his innings with a boundary. But he couldn't carry his knock longer and got out to Lockie Ferguson, leaving DC in trouble at 90/4 after 15.2 overs.

After losing the wickets of Dhawan and Pant in quick succession, Delhi were in deep trouble and Shreyas Iyer and Shimron Hetmyer had the responsibility to bring their team back in the game.

Hetmyer survived a close call on the individual score of 3 as he was caught brilliantly by Shubman Gill at long on off a Varun Chakravarthy delivery but it was called a no ball by the TV umpire. After getting the life-line, the Windies cricketer hit a couple of sixes in the 18th over bowled by Ferguson.

However, in the next over, Hetmyer (17) got run out. Iyer wanted to squeeze out a run but Venkatesh Iyer did well to throw the ball back on time to Dinesh Karthik and Hetmyer was well short of the crease.

In the end, Shreyas Iyer hit a six and four in the last over of the innings and took Delhi Capitals to a fighting total of 135/5 in 20 overs.

Brief scores:

Delhi Capitals: 135-5 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 36, Shreyas Iyer 30*; Varun Chakaravarthy (2/26) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders (Venkatesh Iyer 55, Shubman Gill 46; Kagiso Rabada 2/23).

IANS

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