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Cricket | Indian Premier League 2018

Dinesh Karthik © @IPL (Twitter)

Knight Riders demolish Royals



The Kolkata Knight Riders made light work of their target of 143 set by the Rajasthan Royals, getting home with six wickets and two overs to spare in their Indian Premier League clash at Eden Gardens on Tuesday night.

Full scorecard: Kolkata v Rajasthan

After Kuldeep Yadav’s 4-20 from four overs helped skittle their guests for 142, the Knight Riders batsmen were untroubled in their reply with several players contributing with handy scores.

As if to emphasise the gulf between the sides on the night, Sunil Narine (21 off 7) dispatched the first ball of the chase, delivered by Krishnappa Gowtham (0-32 from 2), for six over mid-wicket with a nonchalant flick of the wrist.

Narine’s innings included one more maximum and two fours but it would be a Roman Candle rather than a rampaging inferno as he was caught in the deep by Gowtham off the bowling of Ben Stokes (3-15 from 4) in the second over.

Stokes had a second in his next over, removing Robin Uthappa for four with a quick short one that had the batsman hole out to deep square leg.

When Ish Sodhi (1-21 from 4) trapped Nitish Rana (21 off 17) lbw in the ninth over, the score read 69 for three and the visitors could see light at the end of the tunnel.

Opener Chris Lynn (45 off 42) was then joined at the crease by his captain Dinesh Karthik (41 not out off 31) and the pair steadied the ship with a fourth-wicket stand of 48.

They looked set to remain unbeaten until Stokes was reintroduced to the attack and claimed his third of the night.

Lynn was offered a short and wide one but instead of thwacking it to the boundary as he should have he connected weakly with the outside half of the bat and the ball ballooned to deep point. It was a soft end to a solid knock.

There was to be no dramatic twist in this tale though as the remaining runs were effortlessly knocked off by Karthik and Andre Russell who finished things off with a six over long on to end unbeaten on 20 off eight balls.

GORGEOUS GOOGLY

Only the most cynical Rajasthan fan could have predicted that their side would be bundled out for such a paltry score after the blistering start they had.

Openers Jos Buttler (39 off 22) and Rahul Tripathi (27 off 15) hammered 63 from just 29 balls, including a run of 10 consecutive boundaries, to ignite their innings.

Triphati was the first to go when he was beaten for pace by an Andre Russell (2-13 from 3) bouncer in the fifth, but all eyes were on Buttler as he was aiming to become the first batsman in T20 history to register six consecutive fifties.

He looked in good shape but was undone by a Yadav googly that bounced a touch more than he anticipated and could only connect with the top edge of his bat from a poorly judged reverse sweep. His anguish was both audible and visible as the ball looped tamely to short third man.

Eden Gardens has always offered help for the spinners and tonight was no different as the dual threat of Narine (1-29 from 4) and Yadav put the skids on the Royals’ cause and resulted in three wickets for 15 runs from three overs.

The last dismissal was a thing of beauty as Yadav’s gorgeous googly dragged Stuart Binny (1 off 4) out of his crease for Dinesh Karthik to remove the bails.

His fourth of the night wasn’t bad either as he offered Stokes (11 off 13) a bit of air but the punchy allrounder wasn’t to the pitch of the ball and had to reach for it, resulting in a leading edge that was well held by the diving bowler. At 107 for seven, Rajasthan were in a royal mess.

Jaydev Unadkat’s 26 off 18 offered resistance at the end but it was not enough to drag his side to a score that his bowlers would be happy defending.

Though they put in a decent shift with the ball, only a spellbinding display from at least one man in blue tonight would have secured a victory.

The Knight Riders move two points clear of their opponents and take hold of third place. They travel to Hyderabad to take on the already qualified Sunrisers on Saturday knowing that a win will secure qualification for the playoffs.

The Royals will head back home to Rajasthan and will need to dust themselves off as they face a do or die clash with the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday.


KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (capt, wk), Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Javon Searles, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav

RAJASTHAN ROYALS: Jos Buttler (wk), Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi, Anureet Singh



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