The match no. 49 of the Indian T20 League 2021 witnessed Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata take on Kane Williamson’s Hyderabad at the Dubai Stadium. It was extremely important for Kolkata to win after remaining the front-runners for the fourth playoff spot for most of the UAE leg.
Ahead of the match, Hyderabad were reeling at the bottom of the table with four points from 11 matches and their season was done and dusted. Kolkata had 10 points from 12 matches, tying with Mumbai, Rajasthan and Punjab. But their positive net run-rate meant that they were ahead of the other teams in contention and only needed to win both their games. As it turned out, Kolkata came out victorious by six wickets to claim crucial two points and get one step closer to the playoffs berth.
Here are the talking points from the match:
Early setbacks for Hyderabad in the powerplay
Hyderabad won the toss and elected to bat first on what was a fresh batting surface. But the pitch turned out to be tricky, holding up from the first ball. Hyderabad didn’t get off to a great start as Tim Southee trapped Wriddhiman Saha in front of the stumps on a golden duck. The replays showed it was missing but Saha hadn’t opted for a DRS as the scoreboard read 1/1 in 0.2 overs.
Jason Roy scored a couple of boundaries off Southee in the third over but was stuck in the next. After failing to make the most of a no-ball free hit in Shivam Mavi’s over, a frustrated Roy stepped out with a hoick on the very next delivery to hole out at mid-on. Varun Chakravarthy gave only one run in the next over to contain Hyderabad to 17/2 in five overs. Kane Williamson took 18 runs off Mavi in the sixth over, including four effortless boundaries to somewhat recover the powerplay.
Shakib Al Hasan with an impactful outing
There was some serious criticism for the Kolkata management in the previous fixture against Punjab when they had picked Tim Seifert ahead of Shakib Al Hasan. With Andre Russell unavailable due to an injury, Kolkata needed the all-around ability of Shakib and hence his non-inclusion in that game made very little sense. They quickly corrected that mistake against Hyderabad.
Shakib bowled a brilliant spell in the match, giving away only 20 runs in his four overs. The left-arm spinner also picked the wicket of Abhishek Sharma, who had stepped out to go big against his favourable match-up. But Shakib being a smart bowler, tossed it wide as Dinesh Karthik did the rest to stump Sharma. However, Shakib’s biggest contribution in the match was Williamson’s run-out. Williamson, who was looking in outstanding touch, nudged a delivery and set off for a single. Shakib picked it up quickly and hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end, off his own bowling, to send Williamson back on 26 off 21 balls.
A complete bowling display from Kolkata
Kolkata bowlers asserted themselves from the get-go and did not let Hyderabad batters off the hook till the end, pushing them back at regular intervals. All of the Kolkata bowlers bowled economically as well as being penetrative to restrict Hyderabad to a below-average score of 115/8 in 20 overs.
Southee and Chakravarthy returned with identical figures of 26/2 in their respective four overs while Mavi picked 2 for 29. Shakib, as mentioned above, picked 1 for 20 while Sunil Narine was the most economical of the lot, with 0 for 12 runs in his four.
Conservative start from Kolkata
Flying starts full of intent has been the hallmark of Kolkata in the UAE leg of the edition. But much like their opponents, Kolkata struggled to score freely on this wicket too. Kolkata openers added only 11 runs in the first three overs. Shubman Gill smashed the debutant Umran Malik for a couple of boundaries in the fourth over to get going.
Venkatesh Iyer, who has been outstanding in the UAE leg, could not carry his form forward. He spooned a pull shot off Jason Holder to mid-off to end his struggle on 8 of 14. Gill and Tripathi scored three boundaries to bring the scoreboard to run a ball at the end of the powerplay.
Shubman Gill produced a fine fifty to take Kolkata over the line
Shubman Gill is rated highly within the cricketing spheres for his immense potential. While he hasn’t yet cracked the T20 format fully, he has shown his class time and again. This was one such instance, where his ability shone brightly on a pretty tricky deck to bat on.
Like most of the batters in the match, Gill found it hard to score but he hung in there. He was 25 off 29 at the halfway mark, with Kolkata still needing 71 runs more. It was then, Gill changed his gears and smacked five boundaries in the next three overs to bring the equation down to 44 off 42. While Nitish Rana was struggling at the other end on 13 off 24, Gill brought up his first half-century of the season in 44 balls. Gill’s match-defining knock of 57 off 51 ended as he holed out to long-on off Siddharth Kaul’s full delivery.
With Kolkata needing 23 off 21, Dinesh Karthik came on with sublime timing in his bat. They needlessly took it to the last over but Karthik’s 18 off 12 was enough to get them over the line with no real scare.