In losing the toss, Gautam Gambhir was happy as Perth Scorchers elected to bat. Just the other day at Hyderabad, Gambhir had put the opposition in after winning the toss and Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav created a spinning web from which the Lahore Lions couldn’t extricate themselves. On Wednesday, the script was nearly the same and after the initial flourish, Perth Scorchers found the going tough against Narine and Kuldeep, just as the Lahore Lions had stuttered against them on Sunday. The similarities didn’t end there since Perth Scorchers could also manage the same final total of 151/7 and in the end, it was Suryakumar Yadav once again, who wrapped up the proceedings for KKR in the very last over.
Batting first, Scorchers began solidly with Adam Voges and Craig Simmons putting on 68 before they lost Simmons in the ninth over. No.3 batsman, Mitchell Marsh soon followed Simmons in the same manner. Both Simmons and Marsh had stepped out to drive Kuldeep Yadav and both were stumped by Robin Uthappa. It was 81/2 for Perth Scorchers in the 12th over and the rate of scoring had suffered with Narine and Kuldeep bowling intelligently. Scorchers lost two more wickets in the 16th over on the same score of 120, when Whiteman fell to Narine and Coulter-Nile to Kuldeep. Captain Voges was the lone ranger, watching his men succumb to the magical weave of Narine and Kuldeep. With runs drying up, Scorchers lost patience. But in trying to make for the loss of scoring rate they paid the price of their wickets. The last two deliveries of the 18th over from Narine were special, to which the batsmen had no clue. First it was Ashton Agar, who went for a slog to a straight delivery and was bowled. Next ball claimed another Ashton. It was again a straight ball from narine and Ashton Turner probably wanted to him out of the ground but the ball went through to castle his wickets. After Jacques Kallis’ 19th over produced 12 runs, Narine came back for the last over and took his fourth wicket by claiming Yasir Arafat. Perth Scorchers finished their 20 overs at 151/7.
Though the 152-run victory target appeared soft, KKR didn’t find the going easy. Gautam Gambhir got out to the first ball of the 2nd over, when he couldn’t keep his shot down as Paris pitched one on the offside. Jacques Kallis, who returned to the KKR fold, didn’t last long either. In the innings third over, Behrendorff bowled one on Kallis’ pads but the batsman found a fielder at short fine leg to an uppish shot that could have been played elsewhere. 13/2 in the third over did not signify the right direction for a chase that looked apparently easy to start with. When Uthappa also fell in the 6th over, Scorchers firmly bounced back in contention with KKR reeling at 37/3. Manish Pandey and Ten Doeschate added 30 for the fourth wicket, before Pandey was clean bowled by Coulter-Nile to make it 67/4. KKR drifted to an even worse position, when Doeschate departed in the 15th over to leave KKR in doldrums at 87/5. But Yusuf Pathan and new man Suryakumar Yadav kept KKR’s hopes alive with a lively partnership of 38 before Pathan fell in the 18th over for 21. When Andre Russell joined Yadav, KKR still required 27 from 15 balls. The batsmen took three of those runs from the 18th over itself and in 19th, they took 7 off the first 4 balls, including a no-ball. Of the next two deliveries, Yadav belted Coulter-Nile for two successive sixes, to leave only just 5 for victory in the last over. But some drama still remained in the last over sent down by Yasir Arafat. The bowler removed Russell off his first ball and yielded a single to new batsman Piyush Chawla. Yadav also took just a single and Chawla had to face the next ball as KKR needed just 3 for victory. Off the fourth ball, Chawla lifted Arafat high over extra cover, Paris ran back and dived but he could only get his fingers to the ball as it rolled over the ropes. KKR won the match but not before they had put themselves in a spot.
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