Two half-century stands at the top of the order helped Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by five wickets and seal their place in the playoffs starting on Monday. Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa all fired at once as Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers, usually stringent and niggardly, gifted 66 in the Powerplays. Dinesh Karthik then saw the visitors through with a matured knock.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan scored a fine half-century while Kane Williamson and Shreevats Goswami also contributed with the bat for Sunrisers Hyderabad. They lost their last six wickets for just 25 runs and eventually lost the match.
Here, we rate the 22 players from both the teams.
Shikhar Dhawan - 10/10
After a rough patch of form during early stages of the league, Dhawan is back to doing what he does best - take the sting out of opposition attacks. His 79-run opening stand with Sreevats Goswami proved to be the best for Sunrisers this season and it gave them a solid base to make 172 on a slow, turning surface. He fell soon after his half-century and sparked off a collapse that saw them lose six wickets in quick time.
Prasidh Krishna - 10/10
The Karnataka seamer has come under a lot of criticism this season for conceding way too many runs and he bucked the trend with a tidy four-over spell that also saw him take four wickets. Krishna isn't the most threatening of T20 bowlers, but on a surface suiting his strengths, he kept a leash on Sunrisers and made his presence felt.
Chris Lynn - 10/10
With his fallacies against spin, no one would have given Lynn a chance on a Hyderabad wicket against one of the best bowling attacks of the tournament. But he has forever been rewriting preconceived notions and did so yet again at Hyderabad with a half-century that all but ensured Kolkata's win and qualification.
Robin Uthappa - 10/10
With a run chase on the cards, Uthappa did exactly what made him an invaluable force at the top of Kolkata's batting line-up. He chose to shed his extravagant shots, but still managed to strike the ball at a good rate to notch up an assured 45 to take Kolkata into the playoffs.
Sunil Narine - 9/10
As was the case right through the season, Narine rode his luck to clear the infield and disband the notion that Sunrisers Hyderabad's Powerplay bowlers are impossible to get away. He raced to a 10-ball 29 before falling to Shakib Al Hasan. Earlier, Narine’s four overs cost less than six an over and he proved to be the perfect foil for a Prasidh Krishna on fire.
Kane Williamson - 9/10
A few years ago, no one would have believed Kane Williamson had it in him to become a fabulous T20 player. Just last year, he warmed the Sunrisers bench multiple times 'cause they figured he had to either open or not play. But apparently, Williamson has used his off time pretty well for he walked in during the 10th over and made a leave-no-balls 36 off 17 balls at a whopping strike rate of 211 to lift Sunrisers’ innings.
Dinesh Karthik - 9/10
As has been the case right through the season, skipper Karthik once again stood unbeaten at one end and marshalled the run chase. His 22-ball 26 put the game beyond Sunrisers Hyderabad's reach and confirmed Kolkata Knight Riders’ qualification to the playoffs. He has been dismissed only once in six successful run chases this season.
Rashid Khan - 8/10
On a wicket where the ball was holding up a bit, Rashid Khan proved to be quite difficult to get away but Kolkata Knight Riders didn't really have to after the kind of start they had. While he was economical, Rashid failed to grab a wicket and it ultimately affected Sunrisers’ chances of gaining some momentum before they head to the playoffs.
Shreevats Goswami - 8/10
The wicket-keeper batsman, promoted to the top of the order to fit in Carlos Brathwaite, made use of the opportunity to launch an attack on the KKR bowlers. He slammed Andre Russell for four boundaries – a six and three fours – in succession and ended up with a valuable 26-ball 35.
Siddharth Kaul - 8/10
With Kolkata Knight Riders running away with the game, Siddharth Kaul pulled things back a bit with his back of a length channel. He conceded at 6.5 an over, grabbed the two crucial wickets of Chris Lynn and Andre Russell, but still ended up on the losing side.
Manish Pandey - 7/10
Pandey had a game to remember the other night and seemed set to build on his form against his former franchise in front of his former home crowd. However, with the pitch slowing down, Pandey took his time to settle in and never really carried on.
Carlos Brathwaite - 7/10
Brought into the playing XI with a lot of moving around of other personnel, Brathwaite couldn't live up to the finisher role but he made his presence known with a big wicket late in Kolkata's run chase. He got rid of Uthappa with a bumper just as the batsman was appearing to be sublime touch, and later added another one (Nitish Rana) to his kitty off the bouncer but it all came too late for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 6/10
The wily Bhuvneshwar Kumar coped some early blows from Sunil Narine, but ended up with a brilliant penultimate over that leaked only five runs against Karthik, who was batting in full flow. Bhuvneshwar nailed his yorkers and slower balls to perfection in the 19th over to give Brathwaite something to bowl at.
Shakib Al Hasan - 5/10
The all-rounder wasn't used until Sunrisers couldn't get runs from Yusuf Pathan and Brathwaite, their assigned finishers. He came in at No 7, looked to go berserk from ball one and ended up making just 10. Shakib then dismissed the dangerous Narine but leaked quite a few more runs than he would have liked with the ball.
Kuldeep Yadav - 5/10
The wrist-spinner had a surface suiting his tastes and got good grip and turn from it. He dismissed the dangerous Goswami to give Kolkata an opening but failed to be consistent enough to threaten Sunrisers. The self belief that underlined his show against Rajasthan the other night was surely missing.
Nitish Rana - 4/10
The game began with Nitish Rana and almost ended with him as he took the new ball, gave away just five runs and then hit a boundary off the final over in the second innings to put the result beyond doubt. He, however, fell going for the glory shot next ball with KKR needing just one to win.
Piyush Chawla - 3/10
More often than not used as the new ball bowler, Chawla didn't bowl until the fifth over and leaked 11 off it. With the others around him bowling decently, Chawla got just one more over, where he went wicketless.
Javon Searles - 2/10
The West Indian all-rounder conceded 24 off his two overs, but still seems a better option that Mitchell Johnson at the moment. He has a few tricks up his sleeve with the ball which could come handy in the playoffs. One of them accounted for Williamson just as he seemed set for another half-century.
Andre Russell - 2/10
The all-rounder continues to be lenient in giving runs with the ball, but has managed to find a way to get wickets most games, making him a tempting option for Kolkata Knight Riders be it in the Powerplays, middle overs or death. On Saturday, he leaked 31 but prized out Carlos Brathwaite to seal Sunrisers’ hopes of going past 200.
Yusuf Pathan - 1/10
Supposedly, the finisher in the Sunrisers’ line-up, Yusuf was befuddled by his former teammate, Narine, with the onus on him to up the ante. With more than four overs left when he came in to bat, Yusuf should ideally have propelled Sunrisers to a better total.
Sandeep Sharma - 1/10
One of the most economical bowlers in the Powerplays, Sandeep Sharma failed to extract as much control with Narine going hammer and tongs. The seamer missed his length thrice in succession and Narine grabbed on to the loose balls to compound Sandeep's misery. His two over spell cost 30 as Kolkata piled up 66 in the Powerplays.
*Shubman Gill hasn't been rated because of his minimal role in the match
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor