Jacques Kallis struck an unbeaten 54 from 40 balls to guide KKR to a seven-wicket victory © IANS (File Photo)
Jacques Kallis struck an unbeaten 54 from 40 balls to guide KKR to a seven-wicket victory © IANS (File Photo)

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) clinched a comprehensive seven wicket victory against Hobart Hurricanes in the first semi-final of Champions League Twenty 20 (CLT20) 2014. The win extended their winning streak to 14 matches. Sameer Jha picks some of the key highlights from the match.

1. KKR spinners weave a web: 16 of the 20 overs bowled by KKR were by spinners, and all of them did a fine job. Kuldeep Yadav was taken apart by Shoaib Malik at the death, but he bowled brilliantly otherwise. Credit must be given to Gautam Gambhir for the way he used all of them. Yusuf Pathan, who is a part-time spinner, completed his full quota of four overs for just 24 runs, primarily because he did not bowl at the death.

2. Shoaib Malik creates fireworks at wife’s hometown: Malik definitely enjoyed batting at what can be called his in-laws’. He started off patiently, and broke the shackles right at the end to score a 46-ball 66. If not for his innings, the Hurricanes would have been bundled out for an embarrassing total.

3. Manish Pandey escapes being dismissed: In the 13th over, Ben Hilfenhaus had taken the wicket of Manish Pandey and celebrations had started among the Hobart players. However, a no-ball check by the umpire revealed that Hilfenhaus’ front foot was just outside the line. Pandey escaped and he made the most of it, by hitting two consecutive deliveries for boundaries.

4. Jacques Kallis comes good: Kallis, who recently retired from all forms of international cricket, gave another display of his class by keeping his cool and helping KKR cross the finish line in the all-important semi-final. The 38-year-old scored a well paced half century, and played the anchor role superbly after Gambhir’s early dismissal.

5. Hilfenhaus dropping Kallis: It may not have made a difference, but when Kallis should have been dismissed with six to score from the final over. He tried to heave Doug Bollinger over the square-leg fence, only to find Hilfenhaus. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Hilfenhaus, standing well inside, could only chip it over the ropes. Did Hurricanes have a chance if Hilfenhaus pulled off the catch? One will never be able to tell.

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Sameer Jha is a reporter at CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter at @SameerJha_)