Abu Dhabi, Sep 26: Some late-order hitting by Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik helped Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) post a defendable 171/6 against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on a slow track in their IPL 2021 match at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
It was the second afternoon match in the UAE leg of the IPL and KKR skipper Eoin Morgan reckoned they would be able to put CSK under pressure if they manage to cross 170 and thus elected to bat on winning the toss.
But it looked like his team will fall short of that target as Kolkata were 127/5 in 17 overs on the slow track and under scorching conditions. However, cameos from Nitish Rana (37 not out) and Dinesh Karthik (26 runs off 11 balls) helped KKR blast 44 runs off the last three overs and cross the 170-run mark.
KKR got off to a bad start, consolidated in the first 10 overs, lost some momentum between overs 14-16, and then finished with a flourish as they kept alive their hopes of using the slow track to their benefit.
Electing to bat, KKR lost opener Shubman Gill with only 10 runs on the board. The former under-19 star went for a non-existent single and was caught short by a direct throw from Ambati Rayudu. Gill had danced down the wicket to Deepak Chahar but could manage to prod it to the midwicket and dashed down the wicket without even looking at Venkatesh Iyer at the other end. The urgency he showed to reach the other end was not that surprising as Gill had survived a scare a delivery before and had used the DRS to get an LBW verdict reversed.
Though KKR recovered from that blow and kept a good run rate, reaching 50 in five overs, they lost a few wickets at inopportune moments and landed in a situation where it looked that they may not be able to cross the 150-mark.
Iyer, who was going nicely on the slow wicket, scoring through smart jabs and prods and scoops behind, had a rush of blood and slashed at a wide one from Shardul Thakur, the faint edge pouched smartly by Dhoni behind. And to further add to KKR's misery, Iyer (18) used up the team's challenge in the process.
Faf du Plessis pulled off a brilliant catch at the boundary rope to end KKR skipper Eoin Morgan's brief stay at the crease, throwing the ball in the air as he stumbled back over the rope and then jumping back in to pouch it. Morgan was out for eight and KKR slumped to 70/3.
Rahul Tripathi held one end up and also kept the scoring rate going, hitting four boundaries and one six. But he was bowled out three short of his half-century as he tried to reverse sweep Ravindra Jadeja's faster delivery and KKR were down to 89/4 in the 13th over. And when Andre Russell (20 off 18 balls) was castled by Shardul Thakur, Kolkata were 127/5.
Rana and Karthik took charge after that, hitting some lusty blows as KKR managed to reach what looks like a defendable total.
Kolkata Knight Riders 171/6 in 20 overs (Rahul Tripathi 45, Nitish Rana 37 not out, Dinesh Karthik 26; Shardul Thakur 2/20, Josh Hazlewood 2/20) against Chennai Super Kings.