On the 15th anniversary of the Indian Premier League,
Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders delivered another IPL classic at the
Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, with Sanju Samson’s side winning a high-scoring
thriller by seven runs. After Jos Buttler’s century powered the Royals to 217
for five in the first innings, Yuzvendra Chahal picked up a stunning
five-wicket haul to turn the game on its head in the run-chase and give
Rajasthan a narrow victory.
The Brabourne Stadium has been the best batting surface of
the tournament so far, and Jos Buttler made the most of the flat pitch to give
Rajasthan a lightning start in the powerplay. After taking the opening two
overs to get his eye in, Buttler smashed 16 runs in the third against Umesh
Yadav before creaming a four and a six off Varun Chakravarthy. Buttler scored
46 of Rajasthan’s 60 runs in the powerplay and reached his 29th ball fifty in
just the seventh over. The Englishman took no risks against Sunil Narine – who
was playing his 150th game for the franchise – but dished out the carnage
against the rest of the KKR attack, smoking Umesh Yadav for another couple of
boundaries in the ninth.
The opener shared an excellent partnership of 67 from 34
balls alongside Sanju Samson (38 off 19 deliveries) after Devdut Padikkal’s
dismissal and brought up his second century of the season with a straight six
over long-on against Pat Cummins.
Buttler was dismissed off a top-edge two balls later, and
Rajasthan scored just ten runs collectively off overs 18 and 19 due to a flurry
of dismissals. But, Shimron Hetmyer ensured the Royals finished on a strong
note, creaming Andre Russell for two sixes and a four in an 18-run final over.
Chasing 218, KKR got off to a terrible start with Sunil
Narine run-out without facing a single ball. However, Aaron Finch immediately
made amends for that mishap as the Australian captain got off to a flyer,
hitting a pair of boundaries against Trent Boult before plundering Ravichandran
Ashwin for a six off the final ball of the powerplay, in which KKR managed to
score 57 runs. Finch also hit a trio of fours in Yuzvendra Chahal’s opening
over and took a liking to RR pacers Obed McCoy and Prasidh Krishna to bring up
his half-century in 25 deliveries.
Finch was dismissed on 58 by Prasidh Krishna, but Shreyas
Iyer took over the scoring duties after that, creaming R Ashwin for sixes in
consecutive overs to leave KKR needing 84 off 48 deliveries with eight wickets
in hand. However, from that point onwards, the KKR innings slowly started to
unravel as R Ashwin cleaned up the dangerous Andre Russell for a golden duck
before Yuzvendra Chahal bowled the game-changing 17th over, in which he picked
up four wickets – including a hat-trick – to leave Kolkata reeling at 180 for
There was still time for one more twist as Umesh Yadav
smashed 20 runs from the next over from Trent Boult, but Obed McCoy held his
nerve on his IPL debut to remove both Yadav and Jackson in the final over and
give RR a famous victory by seven runs.