Hyderabad: Kolkata Knight Riders were not made to too sweat much as they brushed aside an uninspired Hobart Hurricanes to reach their first Champions League Twenty20 final at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad on Thursday.
After the Hurricanes' batsmen, barring the sprightly Shoaib Malik in front of his adopted home fans of Hyderabad, showed a lack of application against KKR's spin attack, Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey stood up to their bowlers to pilot the IPL champions to victory with five balls to spare.
The Big Bash runners-up never looked like really testing KKR after they set them 141, and their chances of reaching Saturday's final further slipped away as Kallis and Pandey forged a match-winning stand of 63. Pandey fell for a sprightly 40 to leave KKR needing 34 in 28 balls, but Kallis finished the job with an unbeaten 54, hitting the winning runs with a swivelled six.
Kallis was content to let Pandey take most of the strike, having eased KKR's early nerves with three fours in his first nine balls faced, and quietly moved along. Pandey fell for 40, but with the run rate in control KKR were never in danger, and Yusuf weighed in with 14. Kallis brought all his experience into play with an assured 54, his fifty coming up with a six that burst through Hilfenhaus' hands at deep backward square leg.
Earlier, after stand-in captain Doherty chose to bat on what appeared a rock-hard surface. Dominic Michael, playing just his second T20, popped a return which Andre Russell took diving to his right, to score 0, and within moments, Yusuf won an lbw shout against Aiden Blizzard, out for a golden duck. Blizzard got a bad call, however, as replays showed a thick inside edge.
This left Ben Dunk and Malik to contend with Sunil Narine with the score 13 for 2; an unenviable task no matter who you are. Dunk collected three fours off the fifth over from Russell and looked very strong on the cut and clip off the pads, but Malik clearly was at ease against KKR's three-pronged spin attack on a slow surface. When Dunk fell for 39, cutting Kuldeep Yadav straight to point, Hurricanes were 46 for 3.
The Pakistan allrounder clouted two sixes and two fours off the young Chinaman bowler, getting to his fifty in 41 balls, but an eight-run last over from Russell left Hurricanes well short of the 150-mark.
Earlier, Hobart Hurricanes have won the toss and opted to bat.
Hobart regular captain Tim Paine misses out, Dom Michael replace him. While Knight Riders unchanged.
Kolkata: Gautam Gambhir (capt), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav.
Hobart: Ben Dunk (wk), Dominic Michael, Aiden Blizzard, Shoaib Malik, Travis Birt, Jonathan Wells, Evan Gulbis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Xavier Doherty (Capt.), Ben Laughlin, Doug Bollinger
Hobart Hurricanes - 140/6 (Malik 66*, Dunk 39)
Kolkata Knight Riders - 141/3 (Kallis 54*, Pandey 40)
Result - Kolkata Knight Riders won by 7 wickets
MOM - Jacques Kallis (Kolkata Knight Riders)