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Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz said his mother is still recovering in the hospital. Gurbaz played a 23-run knock from 14 balls at a strike rate of 164.29 during KKR’s match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Qualifier 1 match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Tuesday. Speaking at the post-match press conference, Gurbaz said he came back from Afghanistan since KKR needed him as Philip Salt’s replacement in the playing eleven. The 22-year-old added his mother is happy for his performance in the tournament.

“My mother is still recovering in the hospital, I speak to her every day. But I knew my KKR family needed me here once Phil Salt left. So I came back from Afghanistan, and I’m happy to be here. My mother is happy for me too,” Gurbaz said.

Earlier, the right-handed hitter did not feature in any games for the KKR this season because of Salt and Sunil Narine’s success at the top of the opening order and the game against the Hyderbad-based franchise in the playoffs was his first match of the IPL 2024.

Recapping the match, Sunrisers Hyderabad elected to bat first. After being reduced to 39/4 following an incredible powerplay spell by Mitchell Starc, a 62-run stand between Rahul Tripathi (55 in 35 balls, with seven fours and a six) and Heinrich Klaasen (32 in 21 balls, with three fours and a six) helped SRH cross the 100-run mark. But wickets kept falling for Sunrisers as bowlers were able to maintain pressure on KKR. A late cameo from skipper Mitchell Starc (30 in 24 balls, with two fours and two sixes) took SRH to a respectable 159 in 19.3 overs.

Starc was the pick of the bowlers for KKR, with a spell of 3/34 in four overs, once again making an impact during the big stages. Varun Chakravarthy also picked up 2/26 in four overs. Vaibhav Arora, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Vaibhav Arora got a wicket each.

In the run-chase of 160 runs, a 44-run partnership between openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (23 in 14 balls, with two fours and two sixes) and Sunil Narine (21 in 16 balls, with four boundaries) provided a fine platform to KKR. Attacking half-centuries from skipper Shreyas Iyer (58* in 24 balls, with five fours and four sixes) and Venkatesh Iyer (51* in 28 balls, with five fours and four sixes) made a mockery of SRH’s bowling and run-chase, winning the game by eight wickets with 38 balls to go.

With this win, KKR has earned a direct spot in the final, while SRH has one more shot at the title clash and will play in Qualifier two against the winner of the eliminator match between Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) taking place on Wednesday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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