Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) produced a disciplined bowling performance to beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 25 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 Eliminator at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.
KKR will now play Sun Risers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 on Friday as the two teams battle for a place in the final on Sunday. The team that wins that match will
face MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Chasing 170, Rajasthan were in control with Sanju Samson and captain Ajinkya Rahane at the crease. Samson went on to score 50 while Rahane scored 46. But the Rajasthan lost wickets in quick succession and eventually lost the match to get eliminated. Piyush Chawla (2/24) and Kuldeep Yadav (1/18) clinched the game for the hosts.
Cruising for the most part of the game, RR lost the plot in the 16th over after Rahane’s dismissal. Piyush Chawla came to bowl 17th. Samson completed his 50 by hitting a four over covers. Samson hit one high in the air and was caught at the boundary. He made 50 runs.
Prasidh came to bowl the 18 and bowled dot after dot. Binny was dismissed for a duck. Prasidh gave only 3 runs his over. RR needed 40 from 12 balls. Russell came to bowl the penultimate the over. Only 6 runs came from his over. RR needed 34 from 6 balls.
Prasidh bowled the last over and gave just 8 runs to seal the victory for KKR. KKR are the only team from the four qualifiers to get the home advantage in the Eliminator. Earlier, Andre Russell’s late blitz of 25-ball-49-run and captain Dinesh Karthik’s half ton helped Kolkata Knight Riders to score 169/7 against Rajasthan Royals.
When the score was looking to be under 150 in 20 overs cricket with 4/51, Chennai man Dinesh Karthik held the willow steadily for KKR and partnered 55 runs in 5th wicket with Shubhman Gill (28) and he made 52 runs from 38 balls.
Unbeaten West Indian Andre Russell did his final job 49 runs from 25 balls with three boundaries and five big sixes to post 169 for loss of seven wickets. RR bowlers K Gowtham took 2/15, following by Jofra 2/25 and Ben lagghlin 2/35 and Shreyas Gopal ended 1/34.
Sent to batting first in home ground by the visiting captain Ajinkya Rahane, KKR received an immediate jolt conceding their first wicket of Sunil Narine (4) in the second ball of the day as the West Indian left his crease to attempt for a big of
Krishnappa Gowtham delivery but missed the line and wicket keeper Heinrich Klaasen did his job and stumped. Spinner from Bangaleru Gowtham did not stop there and struck again heavily on the rivals as he held Robin Uthappa’s (3) straight drive of his delivery silencing the home crowds when KKR lost their second wicket in 17 run from 2.1 overs.
Rahane rotating his bowlers well to unsettle the batting order of KKR brought in medium pacer Jofra Archer and he ended young Nitish Rana (3) early. Nitish Rana’s poor shot went up to Jaydev Unadkad and he grabbed when KKR were struggling at 24 in 3.4 overs.
RR bowlers kept on attacking in right earnest with line and length. This time another spinner Shreyas Gopal held the catch of Chris Lynn (18), who was looking for a big score as his other side of his partners were going quickly, of his delivery.
The googly from Gopal which stuck onto the pitch a touch and as Lynn wanted to work it away off the back foot but could only spoon it back to the leg spinner. As home team captain Dinesh Karthik was almost fighting a lone battle, young Shubhan Gill (28) did his best with some quick scoring with his three boundaries and a six from 17 balls. As he was temping almost all the delivery to speed up the score board, Shubman Gill missed the line and edged behind the wicket from Jofra
Dinesh Karthik’s heroic batting came abruptly end when power shot from Ben Laughlin went up and Ajinkya Rahane held the catch ending KKR captain batting at 52. Right handed batter DK facing 38 balls hit four boundaries and two big sixes to bring cheer for the local fans.
After won the match KKR captain Dinesh Karthik said, “We were initially under the pump, so good on us to come back.” “Credit to Shubman Gill to absorb the pressure. He played some lovely shots. That eased the pressure off me, and then Andre was just special. In these kind of games the score doesn’t matter, it’s about believing. The par scores don’t matter, but just how much you believe,” he said.
“The bowlers have picked their game and have bowled some good balls. Royals do spring a surprise, so you need to hold your nerve and execute your plans. Every game is important this stage. Next game, two good teams competing,” Karthik added.
Rajasthan Royals captain Rahane said, “Disappointed. The way we started with the ball, especially after that. The dropped catch of Russell hurt. But when you start your chase so well, you generally win the game, but KKR bowled really well and that’s disappointed us.”
” I thought the total was gettable, and the partnerships between me and Rahul and me and Sanju were good. But credit to Kuldeep and the spinners. When me and Sanju were batting, we were trying to be positive. I told him to bat deep, but he got out. He tried well. With eight wickets in hand with five overs to go, we should’ve gotten the job done. Through the season, our bowlers have been great, but we need to improve on our batting for next season,”Rahane added. Kuldeep said, “Excited. It was a slow wicket, and it was gripping, but later it became good to bat on. We started well, but couldn’t get early wickets. The wicket of Rahane was the turning point. Every game is important, and we are now four out of four, so we’ll go for it. Yes, we’ll probably beat the Sunrisers.”
Man of the Match Andre Russell said, “Feels very good. Been hectic since the Kings XI game. Every game has been a final for us since then, so feel good to contribute. I have a clear head, so if you get a short ball, slower ball, wide ball, you can play accordingly. Have a still base, and make sure you get bat to ball. Once I connect, I know it’ll be either a four or a six. I swing hard, and that’s what helps the ball to go over the road.”
“It’s good to take responsibility with the ball as well. Especially, as a senior player. Just goes to show you’re improving. Every game is a final for us, and the home advantage will be good. It’s going to be a new game, so need to start afresh,” Russell added.