IPL 2021: Qualifier 2, DC vs KKR – Who Said What

IPL 2021: Qualifier 2, DC vs KKR – Who Said What

KKR will meet CSK in the season finale on October 15.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders. (Photo Source: Twitter/Indian Premier League)

Kolkata Knight Riders emerged victorious by three wickets against Delhi Capitals in one of the most fascinating, heart-stopping contests in the IPL history to book their berth for the final clash on October 15 against Chennai Super Kings. They entered the UAE leg placed at seventh spot, with merely two wins in seven games before scripting a dramatic turnaround, recording one victory after another to first make a place in the top four, and then knocking out two of their counterparts – No. 3 RCB and table-toppers DC.

KKR, in a 136-chase, were cruising so smooth the result of the game seemed a foregone conclusion. But a dramatic collapse saw them go down from 123/1 to 130/7; from needing 11 runs off 3 overs to 6 off 2 balls before Rahul Tripathi smothered R Ashwin over long-off to seal the game with a ball to spare. The 96-run opening stand between Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill had, at one stage, put KKR in a position of enviable comfort in a high-voltage contest.

The clueless Capitals bowlers tasted first success not sooner than the 13th over of the innings, when Iyer, who scored 55 off 41 with four boundaries and three sixes, was removed by Kagiso Rabada. The real collapse, however, was triggered when Gill (run-a-ball 46) edged Avesh Khan behind, followed by a dreary passage in which KKR lost as many as four batters – Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine – for ducks.

Earlier, DC could manage to post 135/5 on a rather treacherous Shrajah surface where the ball nearly did everything apart from coming onto the bat the way the batters would have liked. Unlike KKR batters, who had the advantage of dew playing in their favour, DC played on a dry surface, constantly struggling for momentum, with the spin trio of Shakib-Narine-Chakravarthy tying them up.

Prithvi Shaw showed some aggression upfront, scoring 18 off 12, although once he perished, the other batters hardly found going, keeping aside Shimron Hetmyer, who smacked a couple of sixes in his 10-ball 17. Shikhar Dhawan (36 off 39) ensured to hang around but could not accelerate, which is what the case turned out to be for on-return Marcus Stoinis, who could just a single boundary in his 23-ball 18. Shreyas Iyer remained unbeaten on 30 off 27 but on a track where the ball gripped and turned, he, too, could not switch to the top gear.

Losing skipper Rishabh Pant:

I don’t have words to express at the moment, can’t tell anything. We just kept believing, tried to stay in the game as long as possible. The bowlers nearly pulled it back, but it’s unfortunate that it didn’t go our way. They bowled very well in the middle-overs, we got stuck and couldn’t rotate strike. Delhi Capitals are known to be positive and hopefully we’ll come back better next season. We played really good cricket, yes, there will be ups and downs, but we’ll stay positive, be there for each other, care for each other and hopefully we’ll come back better next season.

Winning skipper Eoin Morgan:

We will dissect what happened in the last four overs. The openers gave us a great platform. But we have won and we are in the finals. We are delighted to get over the line. We are in the entertainment business and need to play some entertaining cricket. Six off 2 and you would say the odds are for the bowling side. But Tripathi has done it for us so many times. The guys coming in feel free to express themselves. The backroom staff have created an excellent atmosphere for that to happen. With the squad we have, we had huge expectations. Our coach BMac saw Iyer and had tracked his progress. Iyer seems to be batting on a different wicket. Anything can happen in a final!

Player of the Match Venkatesh Iyer:

 I am doing what has been asked of me. I am very happy that we ended on the winning side. There is no difference. I came out and played the way I want to play. I am grateful to the management. It is a wonderful place to come and play. I think in the past couple of games, I have been trying to restrict myself a bit as I wanted to stay till the end. But then I thought it is not me. I was losing out on the present trying to be a bit conservative. Gill is an extremely wonderful strokeplayer and we complement each other. Heard the news (about being asked to stay back in the Indian bio-bubble for the T20 World Cup) this morning, but my entire focus was on tonight’s game.