Venkatesh Iyer struck a fluent half-century as Kolkata Knight Riders overcame a late wobble to reach the Indian Premier League final with a three-wicket win over Delhi Capitals in the second qualifier in Sharjah on Wednesday. They will take on Chennai Super Kings in the title clash on Friday.
Set 136 for victory, Kolkata looked to be easing towards victory thanks to fine knocks from openers Iyer (55) and Shubman Gill (46) before five quick wickets forced a thrilling finish. With seven needed off the last over, Ravichandran Ashwin removed Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine off successive deliveries but Rahul Tripathi (12 not out) hit the off-spinner over his head for six to guide his side home with a ball to spare.
Delhi were made to pay for a costly drop in the fifth over when Kagiso Rabada grassed a caught-and-bowled chance off Iyer, who hit four fours and three sixes in his third fifty in this season’s IPL.
Earlier, Delhi struggled for momentum after being put into bat on a slow pitch, losing regular wickets following a brisk opening stand between Shikhar Dhawan (36) and Prithvi Shaw (18). Varun Chakravarthy (2-26) and Lockie Ferguson (1-26) kept the scoring in check and it took a late flourish from Shreyas Iyer (30 not out), who finished the innings off with a six, to propel Delhi to a modest 135-5. Delhi, last season’s runners-up, had been top of the table after the group stage, only to lose two matches in a row in the playoffs to miss out on a finals berth.