Shahbaz, Abhishek star as Hyderabad beat Rajasthan to set up IPL final with Kolkata - GulfToday

Shahbaz, Abhishek star as Hyderabad beat Rajasthan to set up IPL final with Kolkata


Shahbaz Ahmed (2L) celebrates after taking the wicket of Ravichandran Ashwin (L) during the IPL second qualifier match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday night. AFP

Left-arm spin all-round duo of Shahbaz Ahmed and Abhishek Sharma took five wickets between themselves as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) set up the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 title clash with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Sunday after beating Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 36 runs in the Qualifier 2 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday night.

Shahbaz (3-23) and Abhishek (2-24) collectively bowled nine overs, conceding only 57 runs on a pitch that became dry, and with dew not there, the duo made merry to take five wickets collectively and triggered an RR batting meltdown.

Heinrich Klaasen smashed 50 off 34 balls to help Sunrisers post 175-9 and their bowlers combined to restrict Rajasthan to 139-7 as they reached their third IPL final, to be played in Chennai on Sunday.

Ahmed came in as an impact substitute in Hyderabad's batting innings to score 18 runs and then returned figures of 3-23 with his left-arm spin to flatten the opposition chase.

Kolkata, who thrashed Hyderabad in the first play-off game to reach their fourth final, will meet Pat Cummins' side again in the decider.

It took time to fill the 36,000-capacity M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, with local fans still missing the presence of home team Chennai Super Kings.

Chennai veteran M.S. Dhoni remains a hero in the south Indian city and many fans wore his number 7 jersey during the third play-off contest.

The IPL was in the grip of a heatwave in the last two play-off matches in Ahmedabad where temperatures had soared to over 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit), but Chennai remained much cooler at 32 degrees.

Rajasthan faltered in their chase despite Yashasvi Jaiswal's quickfire 42 before the opener fell to Ahmed and skipper Sanju Samson soon departed for 10.

Ahmed strick twice in one over, including the in-form Riyan Parag for six, and despite Dhruv Jurel's late charge in his unbeaten 56, inaugural champions Rajasthan fell well short.

Hyderabad's Abhishek Sharma scored 12 but returned with his part-time spin to take two wickets including the big-hitting Shimron Hetmyer, bowled for four.

Earlier Sunrisers, who had racked up record IPL totals of 277 and 287 this season, lacked firepower in their batting until Klaasen boosted the score with his fourth fifty of the season.

Rajasthan's Trent Boult made early inroads when he got Abhishek in the first over and struck twice in the fifth to send back Rahul Tripathi, for 37, and Aiden Markram, for one.

Fast bowler Avesh Khan took two wickets in two balls, prompting Hyderabad, who won the IPL in 2016 under Australia's David Warner, to bring in Ahmed.

South Africa's Klaasen stood firm to reach his fifty from 33 balls and put on a key stand of 43 with Ahmed in a total which proved enough.


Agence France-Presse/ IANS

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