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SRH v KKR: Rana, Russell rearguard in vain as Knight Riders stumble to seven-wicket loss

Half-centuries from Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Rahul Tripathi (71) and Aiden Markram (68*) consigned Kolkata Knight Riders to their third loss of the season as they chased down 176 with seven wickets KKR vand 13 balls to spare. 

The duo put on a 94-run stand for the third wicket to help their side notch up their third win. Knight Riders started off well by dismissing openers Abhishek Sharma (3) and Kane Williamson (17) in the power play, both inside-edging the ball onto the stumps. 

Tripathi anchored the chase and brought up the joint-second fastest half-century of the season off 21 balls in a knock replete with classical shots, that included inside-out lofts over cover and pulls, while hitting four fours and six sixes before he holed out to Venkatesh Iyer at long-on off Andre Russell. Markram batted on to bring up his half-century and ensured there would be no more hiccups as he struck a boundary and two sixes off Pat Cummins to see SRH home in the eighteeth over. Russell picked two wickets while Sunil Narine returned yet another miserly spell of 0/23. 

Earlier in the day, Aaron Finch and Aman Khan were handed their caps by David Hussey and Shreyas Iyer respectively. Sheldon Jackson returned to the XI after Sam Billings was reported ill. Sunrisers Hyderabad made one injury-enforced change as Jagadeesha Suchith replaced Washington Sundar. 

Inserted in to bat, the Knight Riders overcame early jolts after losing Finch (7), Venkatesh Iyer (6) and Narine (6) inside four overs, to post 175 on the board. Shreyas Iyer (28) and Nitish Rana steered the side to 70 at the halfway stage after Marco Jansen (1-26) and T. Natarajan’s early strikes in the power-play. 

Rana counter-attacked despite losing Iyer, bowled off a pin-point yorker from Umran Malik (2-27), and Jackson, top-edged to fine leg in the thirteenth over, and brought up his 14th IPL half-century and third against SRH, the most he has scored against a team. He took down Natarajan in the twelfth over, heaving a length ball over midwicket for a six and followed it up with a wristy lift over covers for a boundary. But it was his undoing of Malik’s second fastest delivery of the match, clocked at 149.6 clicks, cutting a length ball over third man for a six, that stood out. It even broke the fridge in the dugout. 

Once he was dismissed for a 36-ball 54, a knock comprising six fours and a brace of sixes, Russell furnished the finishing fireworks with four sixes and four fours. He struck the last three deliveries of the 20th over bowled by left-arm spinner Suchith for a couple of sixes and a four to finish unbeaten on 49.