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IPL desk in Mumbai 23 May 2012 - 12:39am IST

Report: Qualifier 1 – DD v KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders trump Delhi Daredevils to enter their maiden IPL final

The Kolkata Knight Riders became the first team to enter the DLF IPL 2012 final after they beat the Delhi Daredevils at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune. Playing the first qualifier of the playoffs, the Knight Riders put up an all-round show to beat the Daredevils by 18 runs on the night.

KKR were in control for most of the match. After winning the toss and opting to bat first, Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum gave KKR a perfect start. Gambhir flayed the Delhi Daredevils pacers, particularly Varun Aaron, to add 48 for the first wicket, before he was run-out by a direct hit from Venugopal Rao. Gambhir made 32 off just 16 deliveries.

McCullum and Jacques Kallis then added 39 for the second wicket in a passage of play, which saw Irfan Pathan injure his right hand in the 10th over. The DD pacer failed to latch on to a catch off his own bowling, and cut his hand in the process, when Kallis hit the ball straight to him. Kallis, though, couldn’t make the most of the missed opportunity. After McCullum (31) was caught by David Warner in the 13th over off left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, KKR lost Shakib Al Hasan (1) and Kallis (30). At that point, the KKR score read 106 for four in 16 overs.

Yusuf Pathan, who has come in for criticism for his mediocre form, then played the innings that, perhaps, repaid the faith that skipper Gambhir has shown in him right through the tournament. The hard-hitting batsman paired with Laxmi Ratan Shukla and pummeled the DD bowlers for 56 runs in 24 balls. That pushed KKR’s score up to 162 for four in 20 overs. Yusuf remained unbeaten on 40 (21 balls) while delivering a sequence of 6, 4 and 4 off the last three deliveries of the KKR innings. Shukla was not out on 24 (11 balls).

Needing 163 to win, DD lost both their openers before the third over had been completed. David Warner (7) was given out caught by Brendon McCullum off Shakib Al Hasan, while television replays suggested that the ball had come of Warner’s pads. Sehwag (10), on the other hand, was out caught by McCullum off L Balaji’s bowling to make it 24 for two in 2.1 overs.

Naman Ojha and Mahela Jayawardene then kept Delhi in the contest with a 59-run stand for the third wicket. Jayawardene was the more aggressive of the two batsmen as he regularly cut and lofted the KKR spinners to the boundary to help DD keep up with the required-rate.

Ojha (28) eventually succumbed when he cut a delivery from Rajat Bhatia in the 11th over straight to Gautam Gambhir at point, with DD’s score at 83. However, the Daredevils’ chances of pulling off a win received a crushing blow when Jayawardene (40 off 33 balls) was stumped by McCullum off Iqbal Abdulla in the 15th over.

With Shakib, Sunil Narine and Jacques Kallis bowling a tight line in the last few overs, DD batsmen struggled to keep up with the asking rate. Both Kallis and Narine took a couple of wickets each at the end to restrict DD to 144 for eight, and securing an 18-run win for KKR.

This is the first time KKR have reached an IPL final. Delhi still have another chance of qualifying for the final when they take on the winner of Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on May 25 in Qualifier 2.

Scorecard

Man-of-the-match:
Yusuf Pathan for his blazing knock of 40* off 21 balls, which helped KKR post a match-winning score of 162.

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