Kolkata Knight Riders edged the Auckland Aces out by two runs to make a winning start in the Champions League T20 qualifiers on Monday at Hyderabad. Chasing 122 for a win, the Aces managed only 119 for the loss of six wickets on a pitch that made batting difficult as the ball lost its shine.
Both teams made good starts to their innings; Kolkata getting to 73 without loss in the 10th over while Auckland reaching 60 for one in the ninth. And then, much like a carbon copy, the Auckland Aces innings resembled the collapsing Knight Riders as they managed to get only 59 runs in the last nine overs once Lou Vincent departed.
In this game, as was the case in the first, batting was difficult on a slow pitch where the ball refused to come on to the bat. This means that the teams would know what they need to do for the rest of the matches if they want to succeed.
While one would expect the slower bowlers to do a job in much the manner as the likes of Yusuf Pathan, Shakib al Hasan and Iqbal Abdullah did for the side, one needs to bear in mind that all these bowlers have the class to do well on any pitch. Someone like Ronnie Hira went for a lot of runs for the Aces and that would send the right signals – play to your strength and bowl stump to stump.
In the previous game of the day, Trinidad and Tobago had beaten Ruhuna in another low-scoring encounter. Chasing 139 for a win, the Caribbean side achieved the runs in 19 overs.
Leicestershire play Trinidad and Tobago while Auckland take on Somerset on the second day of the qualifiers.