Kolkata Knight Riders, on Tuesday (May 15), thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 6 wickets to step one inch closer to the playoffs. Barring the start of the toss, the Dinesh Karthik-led side thoroughly dominated the encounter at the Eden Gardens.
Asked to bat first in the must-win clash, the Royals were all out for 142 after suffering a spectacular collapse. Kuldeep Yadav was the architect of Royals’ downfall. The chinaman spinner finished the game with impressive figures of four for 20.
The Royals were off to an electric start. Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi came all out guns blazing to stun a jam-packed Eden Gardens. By the time the third over ended, the Royals had raced away to 49.
Russell then gave the hosts the much-needed first breakthrough by dismissing Tripathi for 27. At the end of the powerplay, the Royals were comfortably placed at 68 for one. The openers had laid the foundation for a good total and it was now the time for the following batsmen to capitalise on it.
However, Kuldeep’s introduction in the attack turned the game on its head. On his very first ball, he castled Ajinkya Rahane to reduce the Royals to 76 for Two.
Nine runs later, he picked up the big fish by sending back the red-hot Buttler for 39. Sunil Narine then dismissed Sanju Samson cheaply before Kuldeep took his third wicket in the form of Stuart Binny -to reduce the Royals to 96 for five.
Shivam Mavi, who was hit for 28 runs in his second over, then had Krishnappa Gowtham caught behind as Royals found themselves reeling at 103 for six. Four runs later, Kuldeep picked up his four-wicket by dismissing the dangerous Stokes. A cameo from Jaydev Unadkat (26) then helped the Royals post a respectable total.
In reply, the Knight Riders comfortably reached the target with two overs remaining. Sunil Narine hit Krishnappa Gowtham for 21 runs in the very first over to set the tone. However, Ben Stokes accounted for Narine in the very next over. The England allrounder Stokes then dismissed Robin Uthappa for just four to help Royals claw their way back.
Chris Lynn and Nitish Rana then steadied the ship by adding 33 runs. The stand came to an end when Ish Sodhi sent back Rana for 21. Lynn and Dinesh Karthik then took the innings forward. At the halfway stage, the Knight Riders were 80 for three.
Lynn brought up the team’s hundred in style in the 14th over by hitting Jofra Archer for a cracking four. Just when it looked the Knight Riders would get home easily, Stokes dismissed Lynn for 45. At that time, the hosts needed 26 runs off 28 balls. The wicket, however, did not make much of a difference as Karthik and Andre Russell took Kolkata home comfortably in the 18th over.
Following the game, Knight Riders’ delighted Shah Rukh Khan took to Twitter to praise his players, leaving special messages for them.
“And smiles to go…and keep from @DineshKarthik to me. Well done @imkuldeep18 with ball & interviews. @lynny50 who is getting sane! @prasidh43 @ShivamMavi23 & @SunilPNarine74 is Sunil!”
And smiles to go…and keep from @DineshKarthik to me. Well done @imkuldeep18 with ball & interviews. @lynny50 who is getting sane! @prasidh43 @ShivamMavi23 & @SunilPNarine74 is Sunil! pic.twitter.com/UnCsvZbuqZ
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) May 15, 2018