Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Jacques Kallis hammered a game-winning 54 against the Hobart Hurricanes to help his side qualify for their first Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) final.
However, Hobart all-rounder Shoaib Malik deserves some credit as he smashed a valiant 66 in his side’s seven-wicket loss.
Xavier Doherty was named captain after Tim Paine allegedly ate bad prawns. However, Doherty would have been regretting his decision to bat first after opening batsman Dominic Michael was caught and bowled by Andre Russell for a duck.
Aiden Blizzard also failed to make any runs since he given out lbw off the bowling of Yusuf Pathan for a golden duck.
However, Blizzard’s dismissal caused a lot of controversy since he clearly edged the ball onto his pad.
Ben Dunk managed to make 39 runs, which came off 29 balls and included four boundaries and a six, before he was caught by Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir at point off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav.
Travis Birt mustered 13 runs before he was caught by Ryan ten Doeschate at deep midwicket off the bowling of Sunil Narine.
Jonathan Wells only made three runs before he was clean bowled by Piyush Chawla.
Malik and Evan Gulbis stabilised the innings with a 44-run partnership, during which Malik brought up his half-century, before Gulbis was run out by Manish Pandey for 15 runs.
Thanks to Malik’s unbeaten knock of 66, which came off 46 balls and included four boundaries and four sixes, Hobart finished on 140/6 off their 20 overs.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pathan, Russell, Narine, Yadav and Chawla picked up one wicket apiece.
Chasing 141 to win, Kolkata got off to a poor start as Gambhir was caught by Wells at short midwicket off the bowling of Doug Bollinger for three runs.
Robin Uthappa scored 17 runs before he was clean bowled by Doherty.
Pandey and Kallis steadied the innings with a 63-run partnership before Pandey was caught by Malik at long-on off the bowling of Ben Laughlin.
Pandey’s solid knock of 40 came off 32 balls and included six boundaries and a six.
Kallis and Pathan finished things off with an unbeaten 34-run partnership, during which Kallis brought up his half-century.
Kallis ended up scoring 54 off 40 balls, which included four boundaries and two sixes, while Pathan remained undefeated on 14 off 13 deliveries, which included one boundary.
Bollinger, Doherty and Laughlin claimed one wicket each.
Doherty was gutted that his side were knocked out in the semi-finals, and said: “Combination of both [not enough runs and not enough wickets]. “The best way to go about it was runs on the borad, and 10 or 15 extra runs would have been nice. Shoaib played really well. We knew spin was going to be a big issue. Shoaib held us together and gave us a total to bowl at. We’ve put Tasmanian cricket and Hobart cricket on the map.”
Gambhir was ecstatic to have led his side to their first CLT20 final, and said: “It was pretty professional. We planned the chase really well on a slow wicket. The experience of Jacques was very useful. And the young players batted well around him. Russell was unbelievable on this wicket, bowling first up and at the death. Sunil and Chawla are always good. We’ve been playing some good cricket but in the knockout games it depends on the day. We’ve not had any complacency, the guys are very hungry and just one more game to go.”
Kallis was named Man of the Match, and said: “I’ve been hitting well in the nets, unfortunately I missed out on previous occasions. Happy to play a role in getting us through the finals. Scoring up front is going to be easier than the middle period here. Had to set it up for the big hitter. It’s great fun playing in finals and senior players have to stand up and put in big performances and it will be the end of a fantastic year for KKR if we win the CLT20 after the IPL as well.”