Super Over Kolkata Knight Riders 3 for 0 beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 2 for 2
Two mid-table sides separated by just two points. Two misfiring middle orders. Two squads unable to use their reserve overseas players in the best possible way. Two teams that were neck and neck with three wins each against each other since 2018. What happened when they met on Sunday evening? A Super Over, of course.
Lockie Ferguson made that one-over face-off a one-sided affair though. Playing his first match in over seven months, Ferguson, in the space of three balls, first removed David Warner's off stump to hand him a golden duck and then hit the base of Abdul Samad's middle stump with a full and slower delivery, with only two runs allowed in between. A single from Eoin Morgan and two leg-byes off Dinesh Karthik's pads with a fumble at short-fine leg gave the Kolkata Knight Riders two points from the third Super Over of the season to keep them on fourth place on the points table.
Ferguson had earlier dented the Sunrisers Hyderabad chase of 164 with a spectacular spell of fast bowling that read 4-0-3-15 without conceding a single boundary. Ferguson did the damage against a tweaked Sunrisers line-up that saw Kane Williamson open with Jonny Bairstow, and Warner push himself down to No. 4. He allowed just seven in the 18th over when the Sunrisers needed 37 from 18. With 30 to win from 12, Samad and Warner targeted Shivam Mavi on the off side for two fours before the former fell off the last ball of the over - another dismissal that featured Ferguson. Samad had clubbed a full toss to deep midwicket where Ferguson pouched the ball right inside the rope before carefully lobbing it to Shubman Gill when he lost balance.
Warner had struck only two fours in his 28-ball 33 when the last over started with Andre Russell bowling a big wide outside off to Rashid Khan from around the wicket which was later called a no-ball. Once Warner got strike, he first found the cow-corner boundary, then hammered a length delivery past the bowler and then whipped an innocuous-looking leg-stump delivery for the third four in a row. With four to get off two, Warner took a double but couldn't get bat on the last ball and settled for one leg-bye when Russell nipped the ball into his pads. It was time for a Super Over.
Sunrisers' Williamson experiment
Slow starts, an inexperienced middle order, and Warner not looking at his best made the Sunrisers change their line-up. Williamson, who was carrying a hamstring niggle, took charge at the top with fluent strokeplay, hitting consecutive fours off Mavi, while Bairstow muscled Varun Chakravarthy off the back foot. The duo also attacked Russell and Pat Cummins together to finish the sixth over on 58, of which 46 came in boundaries, and was the Knight Riders' fourth consecutive powerplay without a wicket.
But then came Ferguson in the seventh over. Williamson upper cut his first ball to third man to end an enterprising 19-ball 29 that saw Priyam Garg come in at No. 3. Garg couldn't last more than seven balls as Ferguson's slower delivery rammed into his stumps and, four balls later, Bairstow found long-off against Chakravarthy.
The Warner you haven't seen
Warner has been struggling by his standards this IPL and on Sunday he got a life on the first ball he faced from Kuldeep Yadav when Karthik missed a stumping after a loopy delivery deflected off the batman's pad. With his team three down and half the innings left, an uncharacteristically watchful Warner relied on ones and two. At the other end, Manish Pandey was removed by a 148kmh Ferguson yorker. On one hand was Ferguson's express pace, and on the other was Yadav taking pace off the ball - the duo combined for 18 dots from their seven overs together, which featured no boundaries. Warner saw them off and saved his boundaries for the end, which eventually tied the scores.
Knight Riders slow off the blocks
In what was a start-stop-start innings, the Knight Riders struggled to get going properly because Shubman Gill couldn't find the gaps and ate up 17 dots in his 37-ball 36. Apart from his three consecutive fours off Basil Thampi in the fifth over that helped the Knight Riders register their best opening stand this IPL, it was mainly Rahul Tripathi's attacking strokes that relatively drove up the run rate. However, Tripathi's dismissal on the last ball of the powerplay, for 23 off 16, slowed them down again as Rashid Khan came on in the eighth over.
Vijay Shankar bowls four for the first time in IPL
Before Khan, though, the seventh over was given to Vijay Shankar, who dried up the runs further with his clever use of length and pace variations. The fifth bowler has been an issue for the Sunrisers and this time they used him smartly - bowling from the seventh over onwards, they got three out of him by the 11th over, for just 15 runs. But it was neither Khan nor Shankar who pushed the Knight Riders back as much as Garg. Two excellent running catches - one at the long-off boundary to remove Gill in the 12th over and the other running in from deep midwicket inside the circle when Nitish Rana top-edged Shankar three balls later, left them on 88 for 3 with just under eight overs left.
DK and Morgan show
Russell's poor run with the bat continued. With plenty of overs left on a slow pitch, his short stay ended when he holed out to deep midwicket for 8 against T Natarajan. Khan's quota was done by then but the slow and dipping yorkers and full tosses of Sandeep Sharma and Natarajan were still not letting the batsmen score freely. Karthik - like he did against the Kings XI Punjab with a half-century - gave his team a late push with deft footwork. He used the crease better than anyone: he first walked down to sweep a low Sharma full toss for six, then stayed back for a Natarajan yorker to drill it down the ground for four, and then went back again to dispatch another Natarajan delivery for a six over long-on.
After 19 overs, the Knight Riders were 147 for 4 with Morgan on 18 off 17 and Karthik 29 off 14. Morgan faced the entire last over from Thampi who kept missing his yorkers. Morgan hit him down the ground, smashed him over square leg for a six and ran three doubles before handing a catch to long-off to collect 16 off the over. Knight Riders had taken 52 from the last four to post a challenging total. It proved to be just enough.