The Kolkata Knight Riders have no idea what it feels like to lose a T20 game anymore. It's been so long since they last tasted defeat, and there are absolutely no signs of this remarkable winning run stopping anytime soon either.
The KKR winning-wagon chugged along its merry way to its 14th straight victory, with the Hobart Hurricanes the latest team to be trampled en route, in the Champions League T20 semifinals.
The semifinal in Hyderabad was not a high-scoring humdinger; but KKR will not mind that one little bit as their bowlers did their jobs in the first innings, restricting the Hurricanes to just 140 for six in 20 overs, before the batsmen did what they do best – chase down a total – with five balls and seven wickets to spare.
The chase was always going to be a formality considering KKR's penchant for making even the most difficult of targets look simple, and even though skipper Gautam Gambhir fell fairly early in the innings, the result was never in doubt.
Robin Uthappa (17, 21b, 3x4), the man who inspired KKR to the IPL 2014 title with his consistency at the top, also did not make much of an impression, falling to the spin of Xavier Doherty in the eighth over.
However, Manish Pandey – given a reprieve after falling to Ben Hilfenhaus off a no-ball – and the unflappable Jacques Kallis steadied any minor nerves with a 63-run partnership from just seven overs,
Pandey was very much the aggressor, scoring 40 of those runs in just 32 balls (6x4, 1x6). Pandey, who seemed to want to go hard at every single delivery he faced, fell in the 16th over to Ben Laughlin, inevitably holing out in the deep, but with the calm-as-they-come Kallis (54 n.o., 40b, 4x4, 2x6) at one end and the belligerent Yusuf Pathan at the other, KKR eased home in the final over.
Earlier, Shoaib Malik rescued the Hobart Hurricanes with a nice 66 from just 46 balls, when at one time even 140 looked out of their reach.
The Kolkata Knight Riders picked up a couple of early wickets, and then kept chipping away at the Hurricanes batting order, and with it ensuring the Big Bash League side just would not be able to settle down into their innings.
The first to go was Dom Michael, who lobbed a catch, via a leading edge, back to Andre Russell in the second over with the bowler doing brilliantly to dive to his right to hold onto the ball.
A few balls later, and the Hobart Hurricanes were two wickets down as the dangerous Aiden Blizzard was given out lbw first ball off Yusuf Pathan, despite the left-hander getting a big inside edge.
On 13 for two in the third over, the Hurricanes were already up against it, considering they were facing arguably the best bowling unit in the CLT20 2014, but Ben Dunk played a nice little blitz to release a bit of the early pressure.
Dunk scored 39 from just 29 balls and gave the Hobart Hurricanes a little bit of that momentum back, before KKR took control again courtesy the opener's wicket in the first ball of the ninth over.
The increasingly impressive teenager Kuldeep Yadav was the man to inflict the damage, with a little bit of extra turn forcing the ball into the hands of Gambhir at point.
Following Dunk's wicket, Malik, who was then on 6 from 13 balls, took over, and despite a few more wickets falling at the other end, the Pakistan all-rounder held one side up brilliantly before cutting loose in the death overs.
A lot of the attention in the first innings was also on Sunil Narine, who had been reported for a suspect action in his last CLT20 game, and the West Indian off spinner bowled a typically effective four overs, taking one wicket while giving away only 24 runs.
However, even Narine could not prevent the Hobart Hurricanes from scoring 52 runs in the final five overs, ensuring the first semifinal would at least be somewhat of a contest.
With the chasing prowess of KKR, though, it was never going to be enough, as the IPL champions zoomed into their first CLT20 final, where they will take on CSK, who eased past Kings XI Punjab by a massive 65 runs.