Chris Lynn led from the front with a sublime 55 © PTI
Chris Lynn led from the front with a sublime 55 © PTI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) became the third team into the Playoffs of VIVO IPL 2018. Chasing 173 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), KKR romped home thanks to Sunil Narine’s initial blitz and professional batting efforts from Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa and skipper Dinesh Karthik. SRH will still remain in the top two, but can lose the top spot if Chennai Super Kings (CSK) win their last game. On the other hand, if CSK are thrashed, KKR may play Qualifier 1. Mumbai Indians (MI), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are still fighting for the fourth spot.

The chase started off in style. Taking on the swing bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma, Lynn and Narine went off to a flying start. Narine tore into Sandeep and Siddharth Kaul in their opening spells. He set the platform with a 10-ball 29, to Shakib Al Hasan.

Note:  Narine now has 300 runs and 15 wickets in the season, and is the leading contender for the MVP Award.

Uthappa joined Lynn. Narine’s blitzkrieg allowed Uthappa time to settle down. Lynn was sensible in shot selection and spot on with running calls. He put off the poor deliveries to the fence before falling for 55 to a well-judged catch by Manish Pandey in the deep.

Karthik promoted himself up the order to make sure nothing went wrong. He has been in rich form, especially during chases. He made sure the scoreboard kept ticking, ensuring at the same time that KKR did not lose wickets. By the time Uthappa fell, the match was as good as sealed. Andre Russell and Nitish Rana fell in an attempt to finish things off quickly, but Karthik’s presence meant KKR could do no wrong.

SRH have now lost three consecutive encounters proceeding to the Playoffs. It isn’t the ideal scenario despite them being table toppers, at least at this stage. They certainly have issues to address. SRH continued to be sloppy in the field today, whereas their lower order managed only 31 off the last 30 balls.

Brief scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad 172 for 9 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 50, Shreevats Goswami 35, Kane Williamson 36, Manish Pandey 25; Prasidh Krishna 4 for 30, Sunil Narine 1 for 23, Kuldeep Yadav 1 for 35) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 173 for 5 in 19.4 overs (Chris Lynn 55, Sunil Narine 29, Robin Uthappa 45, Dinesh Karthik 26*; Siddarth Kaul 2 for 26, Carlos Brathwaite 2 for 21) by 5 wickets with 2 balls to spare.

Player of the Match: Chris Lynn.