KOLKATA: It can very well be termed as a match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rashid Khan. The Afghanistan cricketer almost single-handedly took Sunrisers Hyderabad to their second IPL final after helping the team to a 14-run win in the Qualifier 2 at the Eden Gardens on Friday.
In the final on Sunday, SRH will play Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai. Rashid, who is known to do magic with the ball, decided to make a difference with the willow and also on the field.
Coming to bat in the 18th over with SRH not looking comfortable at 134/6, Rashid raced to an unbeaten 34 off just 10 balls (two fours, four sixes) to help his side finish at 174/7 after being put into bat by rival skipper Dinesh Karthik.
KKR looked like running away with the tie after Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn once again gave them a flying start. But Rashid proved the wrecker-in-chief by picking up three wickets giving away just 19 runs that helped them restrict KKR to 160/9.
Rashid first had Robin Uthappa bowled down the legs as the batsman missed an attempted reverse sweep. He then had a settled Lynn trapped in front when the Australian missed the line trying to sweep. Rashid, next, had the dangerous Andre Russell with a flipper that the batsman edged to first slip. He was also instrumental in running out Nitish Rana with a fine throw from deep mid-wicket.
In the previous over, Shakib had KKR’s man-inform Dinesh Karthik bowled with one that drifted in as the skipper tried to make room on the offside to cut and got an inside edge on to his stumps.
Rashid’s safe hand came into play in the last over when he caught India U-19 World Cup stars Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi to seal SRH’s victory.
SRH never looked like going beyond 150 due to some excellent pace bowling upfront which was followed by some tight spin attack by KKR. But Rashid changed the script as the Hyderabad outfit, which managed only 45 runs in the Power Play, gathered 61 in the last five overs. Rashid hit Prasidh Krishna for one four and two sixes after Bhuvneshwar Kumar opened with a boundary as the last over yielded 24 runs.
SRH began on a sedate note with Mavi and Krishna bowled with lots of fire that put openers Dhawan and Saha, back in place of Shreevats Goswami, on the back foot.
But it was Kuldeep Yadav, who drew first blood having Dhawan and skipper Kane Williamson in his first over of the match. SRH failed to have any meaningful partnership as the lost wickets at important junctions.