The eliminator of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) was a damp encounter, with rain holding up play for quite some time before Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) chased down a revised target of 48 runs to defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by seven wickets.
While it turned out to be a happy evening for the Knight Riders camp, as they setup the third meeting of the ongoing tournament with Mumbai Indians, this time in Qualifier 2, there were quite a few who grumbled about the match going into the wee hours. The Sunrisers' innings ended sometime around 9.30 pm, and it wasn't until three-and-a-half hours later when play restarted. By the time KKR chased the 48-run target down, it was 27 minutes past 1 in the morning.
Man of of the Match Coulter-Nile was among the first to voice his displeasure over the lack of a reserve day in the playoffs stage barring the final.
"I think there was so much time, it was 2 o'clock. I think the rules probably need to be looked at. You can't be playing cricket at 2 o'clock," Coulter-Nile was quoted as saying at the press conference after the match according to ESPNCricinfo.
Cricketer-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar too slammed the organisers on Extraaa Innings T20, the talk show on official broadcaster Sony Max that is part of the tournament coverage. The Indian batting legend added that it would be unfair on the part of the spectators to keep themselves awake till 1.30 am for the game to restart.
Let us take a look at how the Twitterati, including KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan, reacted to the incident:
Glad on the winning side tonite. But play offs need to have an extra day in case of an abandoned match. Ami KKR onwards with @GautamGambhir
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) May 17, 2017
— Anand Vasu (@anandvasu) May 17, 2017
It was a happy occasion for Gautam Gambhir and Co indeed, as they put behind the disappointment of a string of losses towards the end of the group stage by defeating SRH — considered favourites before this match. KKR's bowlers, led by Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile (3/20), put up an admirable performance to restrict the Sunrisers to a sub-par 128/7.
SRH nearly made a game of the six-over chase by reducing KKR to 12/3 after the passage after 1.1 overs, before skipper Gambhir calmed things down for his side with his steady approach at the crease, eventually guiding them home with four balls to spare.