Sharjah: Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain Eoin Morgan couldn’t hide his excitement after his team beat table-toppers Delhi Capitals by three wickets in the drama-filled second qualifier in Sharjah on Wednesday. Courtesy this brilliant win, KKR will now take on three-time winners Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash of IPL 2021 in Dubai on Friday – October 15th. Rahul Tripathi struck a stunning six in the penultimate delivery of DC spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s over after opener Venkatesh Iyer’s brilliant half-century laid a strong foundation for Kolkata in the tricky 136 chase against Delhi.Also Read - BCCI President Sourav Ganguly to Step Down From ATK Mohun Bagan Role to Avoid Conflict of Interest
Ecstatic after the win, the World Cup-winning captain Morgan said he and the team management will dissect the meltdown with the bat in the last four overs in Qualifier 2. KKR nearly gift-wrapped the match to Delhi after being in the driver’s seat for most part of the match. Also Read - T20 World Cup 2021 Today Match Report, ENG vs BAN T20 Scorecard: Jason Roy, Bowlers Shine as England Beat Bangladesh by 8 Wickets to Make Two in Two
Despite losing six wickets for seven runs, Kolkata prevailed over Delhi by three wickets and one ball to spare to book their spot in the final on Friday against MS Dhoni’s CSK. “Should’ve been a lot easier after the start we got, Venky (Iyer) and Gill set us the platform. Dew came in and all, but we’re in the final and we’re delighted to get over the line,” said Morgan in the post-match presentation ceremony. Also Read - ENG vs BAN T20 MATCH HIGHLIGHTS, T20 World Cup 2021 Today Match Cricket Updates: Jason Roy, Bowlers Shine as England Crush Bangladesh by 8 Wickets in Super 12 Battle
“Would’ve loved to win convincingly but Capitals are a very good side. Six off two, the odds were probably in favour of the bowling side, but Rahul Tripathi has done superbly well for us. It’s a nice insight into our team culture – the young guys coming in feel free to express themselves,” added Morgan.
Morgan acknowledged the role of backdoor staff in giving the youngsters in the side confidence. “The backroom staff have created an environment for them to do this. With the squad we have, there’s expectation. Hopefully we can implement all that we’ve strategised.”
About the elevation of Venkatesh Iyer, who has been a vital cog in the wheel in the UAE, Morgan said, “It came from the coach. My god, he’s a terrific player. Made the chase easy, looks like he was batting on a different wicket. We would like to keep going, playing against CSK, one of the best franchises in IPL history. Anything can happen in a final.”
Chasing a below par 136 for victory, KKR were cruising at one stage when openers – Venkatesh Iyer (55) and Shubman Gill (46) were at the crease. However, a dramatic collapse happened as the two-time champions KKR lost 6 wickets for 7 runs in 3 overs and collapsed from 123 for 1 to 130 for 7.
With 6 needed off the final 2 balls, batsman Rahul hit a sixer off the penultimate delivery bowled by Ashwin to take KKR over the finish line.
Kolkata will now travel to Dubai International Stadium on Friday to meet Chennai Super Kings in the final on Friday. It will be the first time since 2012 that the two teams will play against each other in the final.