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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Brook burst breaks Knights' back

Brook made the optimum use of a lively but belter of an Eden track and produced a classy unbeaten 100 off 55 balls

Sayak Banerjee Eden Gardens Published 15.04.23, 06:10 AM
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Harry Brook smashes his way to an unbeaten century against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Friday.

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Harry Brook smashes his way to an unbeaten century against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Friday. PTI Photo

Critics were getting ready to latch on to Harry Brook after his failure in three consecutive innings in his debut season in the IPL. But the Yorkshire-man came up with a fitting reply on Friday, which had a massive role in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s 23-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens.

Brook made the optimum use of a lively but belter of an Eden track and produced a classy unbeaten 100 off 55 balls that powered the Sunrisers to a mammoth 228/4 after they were put into bat. The support that the England top-order batter got from Sunrisers captain Aiden Markram (50 off 26 balls) and Abhishek Sharma (32 off 17 balls) in back-to-back 72-run stands for the third and fourth wicket also helped him a fair deal, making his task easier out there in the middle.

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Harry Brook celebrates on completing his century.

Harry Brook celebrates on completing his century. Sanat Kumar Sinha

The bowlers and fielders did find the going tough right through because of the dew, though no credit can be taken away from Knight Riders’ skipper Nitish Rana (75 off 40 balls) and last match hero Rinku Singh (58 not out off 31 balls) for again putting up a valiant effort. Yet, the Knights could reach only 205/7.

The Powerplay overs assume immense importance when chasing a 200-plus total. But the Knights were wobbling at 20/3 in the fourth over, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz falling to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third ball of their reply before the impressive Marco Jansen removed both Impact Player Venkatesh Iyer (for Suyash Sharma) and Sunil Narine off consecutive deliveries.

KKR captain Nitish Rana fights on.

KKR captain Nitish Rana fights on. Sanat Kumar Sinha

From thereon, the Knights simply had too much to do even after Rana pulled and swatted Umran Malik for 28 runs in the pacer’s first over. The required run rate kept mounting as leg-spinner Mayank Markande picked up Narayan Jagadeesan and Andre Russell, who earlier limped off the field with cramps having bowled 2.1 overs and taking three wickets.

The Sunrisers’ catching at the deep was pathetic to say the least with both Rana and Rinku given let-offs. But so huge was the target that the Knights still fell short.

Earlier, what stood out was the quality strokes Brook unleashed en route to his maiden IPL century, which was also the first of this edition. When the Sunrisers innings ended, he had 12 boundaries and three maximums in his account. For a player whose strike rate in Test cricket is just shy of 100 (98.77), it was just a matter of time before he got things going in the format that has nothing much to offer for bowlers.

Brook, though, was drop­ped on 45 by Suyash in the leg-spinner’s very first over.

He was severe on the home team’s quicks. At the same time, he paid due respect to Russell and made necessary adjustments when skipper Rana brought Sunil Narine on early in the fourth over.

The shots that he played against Lockie Ferguson in the 15th over were an absolute treat. After being greeted with a maximum over long-off, the New Zealand pacer tried to alter his length and take pace off the ball. But that didn’t work, Brook was spot-on with his shot selection and picked up four more boundaries. That over yielded the Sunrisers23 runs.

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