Shoaib Malik’s stood firm and held the Hobart Hurricanes innings together in the first Semi-final in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) as the Australians got to a competitive score of 140 for six after electing to bat first. The spinners made merry for Kolkata as runs were hard to come by as the Pakistan veteran’s steady knock gave the bowlers a score to fight with on the slow Hyderabad wicket.
KKR were on top right from the word go and the well oiled machine that bowling mentor and pace legend Wasim Akram, was there for everyone to see. Andre Russell took and excellent return catch to send Tim Paine’s replacement Dom Michael packing and the pressure multiplied with Yusuf Pathan and the impeccable Sunil Narine striking in successive overs.
Gautam Gambhir was attacking with spin for a major chunk of the innings and there was little that the batsmen could do other than see out the attack. Ben Dunk was on the attack though and was the only one stewarding Hobart during the time the Kolkata spinners constantly pegged the batsmen back.
Wickets continued to fall as predictably Narine and co made life difficult for the batsmen. Shoaib then went on the charge in the final few overs and the otherwise mercurial Kuldeep Yadav was smashed for more than 20 runs in the penultimate over of the match. The defending Indian Premier League (IPL) champions still hold the aces to progress to the final.
Hobart Hurricanes 140 for 6 in 20 Overs (Ben Dunk 39, Shoaib Malik 66; Yusuf Pathan 1 for 24, Andre Russell 1 for 24) vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Catch the Live Blog of the match here