Crescent Kashmir

Brook hundred eclipses Rinku, Rana as SRH coast to successive wins

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Harry Brook registered his maiden IPL ton – also the first century of IPL 2023 – to lay the platform for SRH’s massive score of 228 for 4 after they were put in to bat. In reply, KKR started slowly but Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh cracked quick-fire half-centuries to help the side past the 200-run mark but eventually fell 23 runs short of SRH’s score, handing the visitors their second away win on the trot, at the Eden Gardens on Friday.

What was Brook’s innings like?

The English batter, promoted to open the innings, went on the offensive right from the first over, cracking three boundaries off Umesh Yadav. He then took down Lockie Ferguson, and later smashed Umesh for two sixes in the next as SRH powered away to 43 runs in the first three overs.

However, the introduction of spin slowed him down considerably in the middle overs. Against the troika of Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Suyash Sharma, he preferred to be at the non-striker’s end, playing the second fiddle to Aiden Markram and Abhishek Sharma through the middle overs. Against the trio, he managed to score only 34 runs in 28 balls.

However, against the pacers, he hammered 66 runs in only 27 deliveries as he powered away to a 55-ball century.

What was going on at the other end?

Mayank Agarwal’s struggles continued as he failed to get a quick start. In a bid to contain Brook’s assault, Andre Russell was brought into the attack in the fifth over. The all-rounder struck off the first ball, having Mayank edge to the fielder at short third. And after getting hit for a couple of boundaries by Rahul Tripathi, he even had the SRH No. 3 sent back off the last ball of the same over.

While Brook was struggling against the spinners, Aiden Markram took them down with some clean hitting, ensuring the early momentum wasn’t lost for the side. He cruised away to a a breezy 25-ball half-century, which included five sixes, before slogging Chakravarthy to the fielder at deep.

Nonetheless, Abhishek Sharma kept the attack on against the spinners. Only one of the 17 deliveries he faced was off a pacer. In the remaining 16 balls, he crunched two sixes and three boundaries en route a vital 32 before eventually becoming Russell’s third victim. Shardul Thakur, who had dropped Abhishek on 1, eventually took the catch.

Brook, who was kept on a leash through the middle overs, took charge again in the death against Shardul Thakur, Ferguson and Umesh to reach his century and help SRH to a total that hasn’t been chased down in IPL history.

How did KKR begin in the run chase?

They were pushed back even before they could get going, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz dismissed for a duck, while attempting to go after Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first over, top edging a cut to third man. Marco Jansen soon struck twice in successive balls, dismissing Venkatesh Iyer and Sunil Narine to leave the hosts reeling at 20 for 3 in 3.3 overs.

How did KKR revive the chase?

After being kept in control for the first four overs, N Jagadeesan went after his state-mate T Natarajan, cracking a boundary and a six. However, it was Nitish Rana who broke free in the last over of the powerplay, smashing four boundaries and two sixes in a 28-run over off Umran Malik.

While Jagadeesan, who was dropped twice, couldn’t make amends, Rana kept finding boundaries at regular intervals to keep KKR’s scoring rate up despite the regular fall of wickets from the other end. Mayank Markande’s double blow – dismissing Jagadeesan and Andre Russell in successive overs, helped SRH remain in control but Rana and Rinku Singh retained the aggressive route. The duo added 69 runs in only 6.2 overs to help KKR be in the chase even as the required rate kept mounting.

However, once Rana was dismissed in the 17th over, KKR couldn’t find a way back. The recent heroics of Shardul and Rinku would’ve provided some hope, but despite their efforts, they couldn’t help KKR surmount the massive target.

Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 228/4 in 20 overs (Harry Brook 100*, Aiden Markram 50; Andre Russell 3-22) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 205/7 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 75, Rinku Singh 58*; Mayank Markande 2-27) by 23 runs

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