Kolkata Knight Riders had begun their IPL season with a bang and were looked destined to finish in the top-two after winning 7 of their first 9 matches. However, 4 losses in the next 5 games not only ended their hopes of making it to the top-two but also threatened to derail their campaign at one stage. But fortunately, the other results went their way and they made it to the playoffs as the fourth-ranked side.

However, they had their task cut out in the eliminator as they had to play against the strong and high-flying Sunrisers Hyderabad. But the Kolkata-based outfit roared back to their devastating best when it mattered most as they defeated the defending champions by 7 wickets in a dramatic fashion in a rain-curtailed game at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Wednesday (May 17).

Th Knight Riders were looking well-set to make it to the Qualifier 2 after restricting the Sunrisers to a modest 128 for 7 in the 20 overs. After Gautam Gambhir won the toss and decided to field first, the Kolkata bowlers fully justified his decision by never allowing the Sunrisers batsmen to play their usual game. They bowled a disciplined line throughout the game and as a result, the reigning champions could only score 128. Comeback man Nathan Coulter-Nile was the pick of the bowler with figures of 3 for 20 in his quota of four overs.

However, the bowlers’ effort was looking destined to go in vain when the rain gods were looking in no mood to show mercy. Had the rain not stopped,  the Knight Riders would have been knocked out, since they had finished fourth on the league table and Sunrisers third.

But fortunately, the game resumed after more than three hours of the scheduled time and Kolkata Knight Riders were given to chase down a revised target.

Knight Riders needed to chase down 48 runs in 6 overs to stay alive in the tournament but they were still in a spot of bother after being reduced to 12 for 3 in the second over. The desperation to chase down the total quickly had put them in a mess but Gautam Gambhir led from the front and played an unbeaten 19-ball 32 run knock to guide his side to a thrilling win.

Delighted after the win, the Knight Riders skipper took to Twitter to post a metaphorical message. Kolkata were definitely on the brink of getting eliminated after suffering four losses  in the last five league games and most importantly the heavy rain during the eliminator. But in the end, everything went fine for them and Gambhir is hoping for the same luck till May 21, the day when the final will be played.

“4 loses out of 5 befor last night v @SunRisers,seems @KKRiders scriptwriter was having a cartridge-refill! Hope dis one lasts till May 21st,” he tweeted.

The discarded India opener, meanwhile, thanked the Karnataka State Cricket Association for the brilliant drainage system that made the game possible even after the heavy showers.

Not only that, Gambhir also showed his sportsmanship by sympathising with the Sunrisers Hyderabad players after the match. With just 48 runs to defend in 6 overs, the reigning champions showed a great fight by restricting the Knight Riders to 12 for 3 before losing the match.

Tagging SRH mentor VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh and David Warner in his tweet, the Delhi-born batsman tweeted:“Satisfying win but my heart goes out 2 @SunRisers,tough 2 fathom such a loss. U r a champion side @VVSLaxman281 @YUVSTRONG12 @davidwarner31.”

Kolkata will now take on Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier on Friday (May 19).

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