This season of the Indian Premier League has seen matches go right down the wire.
Pitches have been full of runs and players keep their teams in the chase until the very end.
We saw it in Kolkata Knight Riders’s win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, then Rajasthan Royals’s Sandeep Sharma held his nerve to bowl a match-winning over on Wednesday and then on Thursday when Rahul Tewatia took Gujarat Titans across the finish line on Thursday.
The thrill-a-minute-ride for the fans continued on Friday with KKR attempting to pull off another stunning win, but this time Rinku Singh could not take his team over the line and KKR falling short by 23 runs.
The game at the Eden Gardens played out like a pendulum with the match swaying this way now and the other way next.
When Nitish Rana won the toss and invited SunRisers Hyderabad in to bat, Openers Harry Brook and Mayank Agarwal played at a high tempo from the get-go. Brook did the bulk of the scoring, taking SRH to 43 for no loss in 3 overs.
The West Indian duo of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell then put the brakes on the scoring by keeping the runs down. DreRuss secured two breakthroughs in the over, but Brook kept on the attack.
Once Brook had SRH Skipper Aiden Markram for company, the duo played like a well-oiled machine.
They gave SRH just what they needed, seeing off overs with singles and two and taking on bowlers when they and that is exactly how they treated the wayward KKR bowlers.
One of them being the young Suyash Sharma who couldn’t grab onto the return catch, handing Brook a lifeline and a moment of regret for the bowler.
The Englishman lost Markram after putting on a 72-run stand, but he kept at it.
Brook changed gears as the situation deemed. He did a good job of building partnerships with Abhishek Sharma and Heinrich Klaasen later in the innings to get to his century and taking SRH to 228.
The player who was brought by SRH for a price tag of $1.62 million, finally did justice to it by hitting his maiden IPL century off just 55 balls, smashing three sixes and 12 boundaries en route.
Chasing 229 for a win, KKR lost three wickets in the first three overs itself to put themselves on the backfoot.
Nitish Rana was determined to not give up and he went on the attack as soon as he hit the pitch.
He started his assault with 28 runs off Umran Malik’s first over — all runs coming off fours and sixes.
Once N Jagadeesan and Russell were sent back, Rana took it upon himself to take to the attack.
Be it a slower bowler or a quickie, bowlers were dispatched to the stands.
Rana played a captain’s knock letting loose from ball No 1 and with 70 needed off the last four overs, he tried to push the match towards a positive end. He was eventually out for 75 off 41 balls, but not before giving KKR a reason to dream.
- IPL 2023
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