Kolkata stay in hunt; RCB beat Punjab to seal playoffs berth - GulfToday

Kolkata stay in hunt; RCB beat Punjab to seal playoffs berth


Virat Kohli captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore with teammates during their match against Punjab Kings held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter
Shubman Gill smashed a fifty as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) defeated a hapless Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets to heat up the race for the only remaining play-off spot of the IPL on Sunday.

With Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore already into knockout stages, Kolkata, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals are fighting for the one remaining berth.

Kolkata are fourth in the standings with 12 points followed by Punjab with 10 points, having played 13 games each.

While Mumbai and Rajasthan are sixth and seventh with 10 points each but they still have two games each to play.

After restricting Hyderabad to a paltry 115/8, Kolkata chased down the target with two balls remaining. Hyderabad did try to make some in-roads through their bowlers but Kolkata Nitish Rana and Gill shared a 55-run stand to put all the doubts to end.

Earlier, Sunrisers Hyderabad got off to a nightmarish start as they lost the opener Wriddhiman Saha for a naught with just one run on the board.

He was trapped in front of wicket by Tim Southee. Jason Roy, who scored a fifty in his first match of the season, again failed to create the same magic and holed out to Southee off

Mavi as Hyderabad lost two wickets for just 16 runs.

Roy had scored a blistering fifty in his first as Hyderabad had defeated Rajasthan Royals to end their six-game losing skid.

He was brought into the fold for Australian David Warner, who since has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament.

Hyderabad kept on losing the wickets at regular intervals and failed to get the partnerships going. Captain Kane Williamson knuckled down to repair the damage.

After adding only 22 runs with Priyam Garg for the third wicket, Williamson fell short of the ground while scrambling for a single. He was dismissed by a direct throw from Shakib Al Hasan.

Williamson’s dismissal opened the floodgates for Kolkata bowlers as they ran through a frail middle-order of Hyderabad.

Shakib sent back Abhishek Sharma as the spinner had him stumped by Karthik. Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarty got rid of Garg, who holed to Tripathi as Hyderabad were reduced to 51-4.

Abdul Samad played a gritty knock to wage the lone battle briefly before Southee struck again.

Samad was caught by Gill as the ball took the leading edge and went up high in the air.

Jason Holder, their hero of the match against Punjab Kings, was caught by Iyer off Varun.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddhart Kaul remained unbeaten and took the score to 115/8 after Rashid Khan was dismissed for 8.

Hyderabad are at the bottom of the standings as they have lost 10 and won two of their 12 matches so far.  

They started their second leg of the IPL in the UAE on a disappointing note, having lost both their opening matches, which ruled them out of the fray for a knock-out berth.

Hyderabad had changed skipper in the middle of the tournament when the IPL came to an abrupt halt in India due to a spike in the coronavirus cases.

Hyderabad were one of the teams who were badly hurt by the pull-out of the players in the UAE leg of the IPL. Their reliable opener Johnny Bairstow refused to come to the UAE because of a 6-day quarantine rule.
Barely had the dust settled down, Hyderabad were hit by another major issue as their bowler Natrajan tested positive for coronavirus.

They were struggling to cope up with the Natrajan’s row, meanwhile Sherfane Rutherford had to leave to attend the funeral of his father.

Meanwhile, riding on impressive performances by Glenn Maxwell (57 off 33) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/29), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) beat Punjab Kings by six runs in the 48th match of the IPL 2021 and sealed the playoffs berth, at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

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