Knight Riders cruise into the IPL play-offs

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Kolkata Knight Riders qualified for the Indian Premier League play-offs with a five-wicket win over the fading Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Chris Lynn top-scored with 55 and Robin Uthappa contributed 45 as the Knight Riders overhauled Hyderabad’s total of 172-9 with two balls to spare.

Prasidh Krishna had earlier claimed 4-30 for a Kolkata side that appears to be peaking at the right time after securing a third straight victory.

In contrast, the previously impressive Sunrisers are losing form as the round-robin stage draws to a close.

Kane Williamson’s side have now lost three on the spin and while still on top of the table for now, they could possibly be knocked off the summit if second-placed Chennai Super Kings defeat Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.

And it’s all over here at Hyderabad as the @KKRiders beat #SRH by 5 wickets.#SRHvKKR pic.twitter.com/pamHGdRNRR

— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 19, 2018

BATTING COLLAPSE

Hyderabad looked in a position to post a score around 200 when they reached 127-1 with Shikhar Dhawan (50) and Williamson at the crease.

Yet the loss of their captain, who made 36 off just 17 deliveries, sparked a batting collapse. They lost five wickets for 11 runs in the final two overs, including three in a row to finish the innings.

Manish Pandey weighed in with 25 but, presented with the perfect platform to launch a late onslaught, the rest of the middle order fluffed their lines.

Krishna completed his four-wicket haul by dismissing Shakib Al Hasan and Rashid Khan with successive deliveries in the 20th over and while he was denied a hat-trick from the last ball of the innings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was run out trying to pinch a single.

Stars of the kNight! #SRHvKKR #IPL2018 #KKRHaiTaiyaar pic.twitter.com/bfNcRl5mKI

— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) May 19, 2018

SUNIL SHINES AT THE TOP

Boosted by their fine finish with the ball, the Knight Riders broke the back of their run chase thanks to their two openers.

Australian Lynn was happy to play second fiddle early on as Sunil Narine took centre stage in their partnership of 52, the left-hander launching two sixes as he made 29 in a hurry.

Uthappa then helped add 67 for the second wicket and while both he and Lynn perished before the end, skipper Dinesh Karthik – who finished up unbeaten on 26 – steered his team home.

They rather fell over the finishing line though, including losing the wicket of Nitish Rana when the scores were level, but still picked up the two points they required to become the third franchise to book a spot in the knockout stages.

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