Kolkata Knight Riders have developed a knack of pulling off the clinical and the haphazard on the same night. Led by Sunil Narine, their spinners were un-hittable. Perth Scorchers realised that after much huffing and puffing that amounted to only 151 for 7. The Knight Riders batsmen though were lackadaisical and Scorchers’ seamers rode on that, until they met Suryakumar Yadav. His twin sixes in the 19th over killed the contest and sealed Knight Riders’ progress into the Champions League T20 semi-finals.
Kuldeep Yadav, the 19-year old left-arm chinaman, and Narine would have been in the dugout wondering if the clincher would be their batting and not them snaring all seven of the opposition’s wickets to fall, at 6.88 to the over. Scorchers’ captain Adam Voges had highlighted the need to collect singles against mystery bowlers, but only he managed to stick to the plan. While the rest of the line-up swished and swashed across the line, he accumulated an unbeaten 71 off 52 balls that looked surprisingly close to match-winning until the final few minutes of the game.
Two sixes in the 15th over sparked Suryakumar’s innings off and two similar blows crowned a 19-ball 43. So Knight Riders pushed their winning streak to 12 matches despite losing regular wickets and finding themselves at 87 for 5. Gautam Gambhir, their captain, too found an explanation hard to come by for their victorious run. “I don’t know, the only thing I can think of was the hunger in the dressing room.”