After suffering five losses on the spin, the Kolkata Knight
Riders finally got back to winning ways in the IPL with their victory over the
Rajasthan Royals on Monday night at the Wankhede Stadium. Following a
disciplined performance from the bowlers that saw Rajasthan score just 153,
Rinku Singh and Nitish Rana shared a 66-run partnership to take KKR over the
line in the final over and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Having lost their ninth toss of the season, Rajasthan got
off to another poor start with the bat on a slow surface. Replacing the
struggling Venkatesh Iyer, Anukul Roy kept the openers quiet with his
left-arm-spin before Umesh Yadav removed Devdutt Padikkal for two in his second
over. In contrast to his form throughout the season, Jos Buttler struggled with
his timing on a tricky pitch to bat on, and after making just 22 runs in his
first 24 deliveries, the Englishman holed out to Shivam Mavi at long-on against
The Royals were kept afloat at the start thanks to some
clean hitting from the bat of Sanju Samson, with the captain striking Umesh
Yadav for consecutive boundaries in the powerplay before creaming a couple of
elegant fours against Shivam Mavi in the 11th over. With wickets falling around
him, Samson assumed the anchor’s role through the middle overs and reached his
half-century in 38 deliveries. However, the captain couldn’t find the
acceleration needed at the death and was eventually dismissed by Mavi for the
fifth time in seven IPL innings after scoring just four runs off his last 11
Riyan Parag struck a couple of sixes to give the Royals a
much-needed boost in the slog overs, while Shimron Hetmyer played an invaluable
cameo off 27 from 13 deliveries to take Rajasthan to a defendable first innings
total of 152.
In reply, Kolkata’s fifth different opening partnership in
their last six games suffered the same fate as the previous iterations, with
Kuldeep Sen getting Aaron Finch to chop one onto his stumps for four and Baba
Indrajith top-edging a Prasidh Krishna bouncer to fine-leg.
Kolkata finished the powerplay at 32 for two, but Shreyas
Iyer and Nitish Rana ensured that the Knight Riders didn’t get bogged down in
the middle overs as they took on the RR spinners – Chahal and Ashwin. The
captain danced down the track to loft Chahal for a six over long-on while
Nitish Rana continued his excellent record against Ashwin in the IPL, creaming
the off-spinner for 15 runs in the 11th over.
Trent Boult had Iyer caught down the leg-side in the 13th to
give RR a lifeline, but Rinku Singh and Nitish Rana saw KKR home with minimal
trouble to take them to their fourth win of the season. Rinku played an
incredible hand of 42* from just 23 while Rana finished on 48* from 37 as the
pair shared an unbroken 66-run stand to finish off the run chase with five
balls to spare.