Rahul Tripathi hit a six off the penultimate ball Wednesday in Sharjah to see Kolkata Knight Riders to victory over Delhi Capitals and into the Indian Premier League final in a match that went from dull to thrilling in the matter of few overs.
Delhi, who topped the eight team table, will have to wait for their first title as they fell short of reaching the final despite a late comeback when they took four Kolkata wickets in 10 balls including England captain Eoin Morgan.
As the chase for Delhi’s 135 for five became increasingly desperate – six needed off 2 balls – Tripathi hit the ball over the boundary to lead Kolkata to victory in Sharjah with 135 for seven and just one ball to spare.
The Kolkata players erupted in joy. They were fourth in the table but still reached the final after beating Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore and now Delhi in the playoffs. It has been a stunning resurgence in the UAE leg.
“We are delighted to get over the line,” said Morgan.
“We are in the entertainment business and needed to play some entertaining cricket. Six off two and you would say the odds are for the bowling side. But Tripathi has done it for us so many times.”
Morgan said his team would “dissect” the nervy finish before they play three-time champions Chennai Super Kings in the final on Friday.
“It should’ve been a lot easier after the start we got,” he admitted.
Delhi captain Rishabh Pant fought back tears after the game.
“I don’t have words to express at the moment,” he said.
“We just kept believing and tried to stay in the game as long as possible.
“The bowlers nearly pulled it back, but it’s unfortunate that it didn’t go our way.
“They bowled very well in the middle-overs, we got stuck and couldn’t rotate strike. Delhi Capitals are known to be positive and hopefully we’ll come back better next season.”
Winning five of their last seven games, Kolkata put on an extraordinary resurgence in the second half of the IPL – switched to the United Arab Emirates as a coronavirus precaution – to reach the final.
Here are the reactions to the thriller in Sharjah: