Kolkata Knight Riders reached the final of the 2014 Indian Premier League after outclassing Kings XI Punjab in a 28-run victory.
The match, which was postponed a day by the rain in Kolkata, began with the home side asked to bat first.
They put on 163-8 in their 20 overs, set up by a top score of 42 from in-form opener Robin Uthappa, and boosted by a series of cameos from the rest of the batsmen.
With rain threatening the game, the stakes were raised on the Kings XI innings, with Duckworth/Lewis a possible factor at any stage.
The pressure told, with wickets tumbling and KKR delighting their home fans by closing out their eighth victory in a row.
If they make it nine, they will be champions for a second time.
|Kolkata Knight Riders Innings|
|Robin Uthappa||c David Miller b Akshar Patel||42||30||140.00||4||2|
|Gautam Gambhir||c George Bailey b Mitchell Johnson||1||3||33.33||0||0|
|Manish Pandey||b Akshar Patel||21||20||105.00||3||0|
|Shakib Al Hasan||c David Miller b Karanveer Singh||18||16||112.50||2||0|
|Yusuf Pathan||c David Miller b Karanveer Singh||20||18||111.11||2||1|
|Ryan ten Doeschate||c Manan Vohra b Mitchell Johnson||17||10||170.00||0||2|
|Suryakumar Yadav||b Karanveer Singh||20||14||142.85||3||1|
|Piyush Chawla||NOT OUT||17||9||188.88||3||0|
|Sunil Narine||run out (Mitchell Johnson)||0||0||0.00||0||0|
|Morne Morkel||NOT OUT||0||0||0.00||0||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 3, lb 4)||7|
|TOTAL||(8 wickets; 20 overs)||163|
KKR began slowly, losing captain Gautam Gambhir for just one run, and rebuilding through Uthappa and Manish Pandey.
Their stand brought 65 runs, but just before the halfway point, they fell in the same over.
While no one batsman took responsibility, a series of mini-stands and cameos saw not just an acceleration in the run rate, but the setting of a decent total.
Akshar Patel gave away just 11 runs in his four overs, picking up a couple of wickets in the process, but two bowlers let the Knight Riders off the hook.
Rishi Dhawan returned figures of 4-0-44-0, and while Karanveer Singh did collect three wickets, it came at the cost of another 40 runs.
|Kings XI Punjab Innings|
|Virender Sehwag||c Shakib Al Hasan b Umesh Yadav||2||3||66.66||0||0|
|Manan Vohra||c Umesh Yadav b Morne Morkel||26||19||136.84||0||3|
|Wriddhiman Saha||c Umesh Yadav b Morne Morkel||35||31||112.90||2||2|
|Glenn Maxwell||lbw Umesh Yadav||6||9||66.66||1||0|
|David Miller||b Piyush Chawla||8||12||66.66||0||0|
|Akshar Patel||run out (Piyush Chawla)||2||2||100.00||0||0|
|George Bailey||c Manish Pandey b Umesh Yadav||26||17||152.94||1||2|
|Rishi Dhawan||st Robin Uthappa b Shakib Al Hasan||14||15||93.33||0||1|
|Mitchell Johnson||NOT OUT||10||11||90.90||0||1|
|Karanveer Singh||NOT OUT||1||1||100.00||0||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 2, lb 3)||5|
|TOTAL||(8 wickets; 20 overs)||135|
|Shakib Al Hasan||4||43||1||10.75||7|
In reply, the chase got off to a stuttering start, Virender Sehwag middling a drive into the covers to lose his wicket early on.
The rain arrived in the fourth over, and for a moment it looked as if the play would stop. Covers, which had arrived on the outfield, were sent back in the nick of time and play continued in the rainshower.
The pressure turned back to the table-topping Kings XI—had play been abandoned, their finish at the top of the table would have seen them through to the final. Instead, behind the Duckworth/Lewis requirements, they had to up the pace of their innings.
They did so—at a cost. Wickets fell cheaply, and with star men Glenn Maxwell and David Miller failing, KKR turned the screw.
Only Manan Vohra (26 from 19 deliveries) and Wriddhiman Saha (35 from 31) got meaningful scores, with the middle order crumbling and the match ebbing away.
George Bailey tried to stem the tide, but coming in at No. 7, he was simply left with too much to do.
Kings XI will have to content themselves with the fact that they get a second chance—they meet the winner of the clash between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier—but their form has deserted them at just the wrong time.