IPL 2012: Yusuf, spinners take KKR to IPL 5 final

Vineet Ramakrishnan

Pune: He waited, the crowd waited -- but the moment had passed and Kolkata Knight Riders booked a place in the IPL final by the time he (Ross Taylor) walked into the middle. At that time the equation read 43 runs off 19 balls with 2 Sunil Narine overs to go. Gambhir’s trick to hold back his mystery spinner worked and Sehwag’s trick to hold back the big hitter… well, never could have worked.

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Delhi captain Virender Sehwag had given the last over to Varun Aaron and he gave away 21 runs, Delhi lost by 18. The last five overs for KKR yielded 62 runs and one wicket. For Delhi – 37 runs and four wickets.

Yusuf Pathan woke from his slumber finally (not entirely though) to smash 40 off just 21 balls and along with Laxmi Ratan Shukla (24 off just 11 balls), playing in place of injured Manoj Tiwary took the Kolkata Knight Riders total from what could have been a modest total to a highly defendable one of 162 runs.

With the kind of track the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium offered, spinners were touted to dictate the pace of the match, but for Kolkata Knight Riders even after having three spinners – seamers Lakshmpathy Balaji and Jacques Kallis did much more than expected off them. Off the 6 overs bowled between them, only 36 runs were given away and the wickets off Warner, Sehwag and Taylor.

Chasing 162, Warner went early owing to a harsh decision by Umpire Billy Doctrove. Immediately after, Sehwag tried to slash an incoming delivery and got out.

Mahela Jayawardene (40 off 33), the best among the 22 who played to tackle the slow turning conditions came to the fore for Delhi and along with a jittery yet technically correct Naman Ojha (28 off 28) put the Daredevils back in the hunt. They stitched together a fifty run partnership off 43 balls. When Ojha departed, Venugopal Rao (13 off 22) came in and the right hander failed to break the shackles which was being tightened by the KKR spinners Iqbal Abdulla and Shakib Al Hasan.

Abdulla then delivered the turning point of the match, Jayawardene charged down the track, Abdulla bowled it short and the ball missed Jayawardene’s bat and McCullum stumped him on the second effort. The second turning point of the match was delivered soon after by Sehwag, the turning point not in favour of Delhi but for KKR, he sent in Pawan Negi ahead of Ross Taylor, the game was won then and there by KKR.

Earlier in the day, after winning crucial toss, Gambhir decided to bat first and he went after the bowling from the word go, scoring 32 off 16 balls. McCullum played the sheet anchor role with 31 off 36. The role reversal went according to the plan for KKR. In the middle over, Delhi clawed back into the game with some tight overs but Kallis (30 off 33) ensured that they did not lose any wickets.

When it was time for the final assault, Yusuf Pathan and Laxmi Ratan Shukla were in the middle. In the 17th over, Pathan hoisted Morkel for a straight six and from there on, both went berserk and amassed 56 runs off the final 24 balls. Shukla clobbered Morkel’s slow bouncer for a six behind square and Pathan was dropped by none other than Warner in the final over, the ball went for a six, 21 runs off the last over bowled by Varun Aaron. Narine bowled the last over for KKR, conceded 7 runs off the over.

But again, the last over from Narine did not matter as Delhi had already lost the game when Ross Taylor was sitting in the dugout even after Delhi had lost 5 wickets in the chase with 32 balls remaining.