The third and the final day of the Champions League T20 qualifiers saw the pair of Kolkata Knight Riders and Somerset qualify for the main draw of the tournament. Trinidad and Tobago had already gone through to the main draw on the second day with their second successive win and Somerset beat Kolkata to join them as the second side.
The Kolkata Knight Riders ended up on the second spot but edged out Ruhuna, the second-placed team in the other group, to ensure that they became the fourth team in this year’s Champions League T20 from the IPL. Earlier, Royal Challengers, Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings were already through to the main competition.
The day began with Ruhuna and Leicestershire, both having lost their opening game to Trinidad and Tobago, playing each other at Hyderabad. A win was a necessity, a big margin almost a vital requirement. In case of Leicestershire, things looked even bleaker given that they had gone down to the Trinidad and Tobago side in their first game by 51 runs; a huge loss given the low-scoring, close games in the tournament otherwise.
Ruhuna batted well on a track that was clearly the best of the ones on display in the three days as they got to 160 in the 20 overs. Dinesh Chandimal, who had had a 50 to his name in the first game, got another half-century to propel the side forward.
Leicestershire, knowing that their goose was almost cooked, got running after the target through Abdul Razzaq. Promoted to the top of the innings, he played a brilliant hand and got to a half-century. However, once he was gone for a 46-ball 68, the rest of the side crumbled to four runs short of the Ruhuna total and lost the game.
At this stage, Ruhuna knew that they had a chance, which according to the statisticians would have happened had Kolkata lost the game by more than 13 runs. Or, of course, had Somerset been beaten with the Knight Riders chasing down their target in 18.3 overs or less.
As it turned out, neither of the two things happened. The Somerset side got to 166, a big enough total on the slowish track before restricting the Knight Riders to 155 to allow both the sides to go through at the expense of the Sri Lankan team.
For Somerset, it was Peter Trego’s 70 that was worth its weight in gold while Knight Riders were propped by Ryan ten Doeschate in the middle of the innings.