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Kolkata Knight Riders trump Delhi Daredevils to enter their maiden IPL final
By IPL desk
Mumbai 23 May 2012
The Kolkata Knight Riders became the first team to enter the DLF IPL 2012 final after they beat theDelhi Daredevilsat 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 McCullumgave 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.
Smith, Tendulkar complete 10-wicket drubbing of RR in Jaipur
By IPL desk
Mumbai 20 May 2012
Prior to the last league match of IPL 2012, theRajasthan Royals had never lost a match in which they scored 160 or more while batting first. TheMumbai Indiansshattered that record by registering a thumping 10-wicket win at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. MI successfully chased the 163-run target with two overs to spare.
The game had very little but pride at stake as MI had already made it to the top four, while RR were already out of playoff contention. The visitors looked to go into the playoffs with momentum on their side and the hosts just wanted to end the season on a high note. In the end, it was the stronger team that prevailed.
In what came across as their attempt to use the most number of opening pairs in a single tournament, the Mumbai Indians came up with yet another opening combination – Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith. The two ended up with the best opening partnership of IPL 2012 as they piled on 163 runs. The Tendulkar-Smith duo lived an extremely charmed in the middle. They kept playing wrong shots in the air and the ball kept falling short of the fielders. To double up the frustration of RR bowlers, the fielders leaked some runs on the ground as well.
When Sidharth Trivedi finally got Smith caught in the deep, it turned out to be a no-ball. Tendulkar smacked the next delivery, a free-hit, for a six to bring up MI’s 100. As the two batsmen rode their luck to the fullest, the hosts could do very little apart from grinning and bearing it.
After playing some chancy shots in the beginning, both batsmen settled down nicely and began to hit the ball well. Tendulkar scored 58* off 51 balls with the help of six fours, while Smith finished with 87* off 54 deliveries. He hit 10 fours and three sixes. MI got home with 12 balls to spare and all 10 wickets in hand.
Earlier, Rahul Dravid had called it right at the toss and elected to bat first. MI’s Dhawal Kulkarni was playing his first game of IPL 2012 and he accounted for the most successful opening pair of the season. In his first over, he dismissed Rahul Dravid (5) with a short and side delivery was edged to the ‘keeper. In his third over, he got rid of the in-form Ajinkya Rahane (13) with another short ball.
MI’s captain, however, was not that effective. Harbhajan Singh was smacked for 30 runs off his first two overs. Stuart Binny was particularly harsh on the off-spinner, creaming him for three fours and two sixes. Finally, Binny ran himself out for 30 (off 17 balls), thus ending his dangerous 53-run (36 balls) partnership with Watson.
Watson carried on for a while, before Pollard got him caught in the deep, inducing a mistimed pull shot. The Australian departed for 45 off 36 balls with four fours and two hits over the fence. Owais Shah and Ashok Menaria got sedate 20s to take RR to 162 for six in their allotted 20 overs. Kulkarni finished with figures of 4-1-18-3, while Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard picked up a scalp each.
The Mumbai Indians will now take on the Chennai Super Kings in the playoff eliminator in Bengaluru on May 23, 2012.