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6 Sep 2020
It was Sharjah again and Sharjah means excitement, it means big scores and it means huge run chases. All of it was on offer today as two of the best teams in the league so far, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals fought an epic battle, which was ultimately won by the Delhi-based team, thanks to some brilliant death bowling by their South African Anrich Nortje.
At one time Delhi were running away with the win when Kolkata was reduced to 122/6 in 13.3 overs. But then came the Eoin Morgan storm and that was amply supported by Rahul Tripathi, giving KKR a dash of hope as the duo reached 199/6 in at the end of the 18th, scoring 77 runs off just 27 balls. But then Nortje was brought back into the attack and he not only dismissed the danger man Morgan, but also gave just five runs in the over, forcing Tripathi to score an unbelievable but not impossible 27 from the last over.
That couldn’t happen and as a result, Delhi won the game comprehensively by 18 runs and thereby reached the top of the table.
Reacting to the victory, young Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer said, “It is really difficult to defend here. It has been such an amazing tournament, especially in Sharjah.”
“It is always a thrill to play at this ground, the last time I played here was in the under-19s,” he added.
Calling the victory as an ‘icing on the cake’, the 25-year-old said, ‘It was really necessary’ for him to take time at the start which he did. Further, the captain said, “It was the right time for me to take on the bowlers and then rotate the strike as well after that. Luckily it worked out for me.”
Explaining the efforts that had gone through to build his body and then score that brilliant 88, Iyer said, “I know the hard work and the smart work I have put in through my gym sessions, so I wouldn't say I am a very gifted player.”
The Delhi captain further said, “We keep talking about close victories and this was one of them. Really satisfied with the way everyone stepped up.”
Calling the incident ‘unfortunate’ when Amit Mishra left the field, Iyer said that it impacted his plans. “We were confident we had two good overs left, but anything could happen, it is a funny game is T20s and especially here in Sharjah,” he added.
Speaking on his further plans, Iyer said that he would like to keep on going. “We really have a good platform and we have to be insatiable with our work ethics and keep getting better game after game from here on,” concluded the Mumbai born.
On the other hand, Dinesh Karthik, the batsman failed once again as he was unable to middle the balls. His struggle ended when he got out for just six runs off eight balls.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Karthik said, “The way the boys batted is something I am really proud of, we kept fighting till the end which is the nature of our team. Really happy with the effort we put in today.”
“Maybe in between 10-13 overs we didn't get many boundaries, we lost a couple of wickets as well which sets you back in such run chases,” he added.
Discussing the consequences with the view of ‘what if this would have happened’, Karthik said that it is one of the worse ideas and refused to compare things in that manner.
“To be honest, couple more sixes and we would have crossed the line, we wouldn't be talking about the lengths. I thought it was a hard wicket to bowl on and the bowlers did a fabulous job, maybe 10 runs too many but it's okay,” he said.
Andre Russell failed to maximise the opportunity he got by batting at number four. Talking about that, Karthik said, “We trust him (Russell) and believe he is the best in the business, we want to give him enough time to create an impact on the game and that's something we want to encourage.”
The Tamil Nadu born further failed to comment on whether or not Sunil Narine is going to bat down the order. “I haven't thought about it (making the change at the top) but maybe after this game, I will sit down with the coaching staff. We still believe in Narine and whenever he gets going he gets us off to a great start,” he said.
Speaking on the batting order preferred by Dinesh Karthik, veteran journalist Ayaz Memon said that it was the only weak point when Karthik decided to bat ahead of Eoin Morgan.
Boria Majumdar, another veteran journalist pointed out that the contest between bat and ball needs to remain fair.
Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s eye searched for two young stars from two teams which included the likes of Rahul Tripathi and Anrich Niortje especially.
Veteran analyst Vimal Kumar praised Rahul Tripathi and Eoin Morgan for bringing Kolkata back into the game.
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