The iconic ground of Eden Gardens hosted a crucial encounter of IPL 2018 as Kolkata Knight Riders played against Rajasthan Royals in the 49th match. Both sides were in a desperate need to win for a chance to qualify for the playoffs. As it turned out, KKR, at home, proved to be too good for the visitors.
RR threw away the initial start
Dinesh Karthik called the right side of the coin and invited the opposition to bat first. The pacer Shivam Mavi bowled a fiery first over and conceded just 2 runs. But Rahul Tripathi made amends by slamming 3 fours and a six in the next over. Jos Buttler, who came into the game with 5 consecutive fifties, punished Mavi and struck him for 2 sixes and 4 fours in the 3rd over.
The score raced off to 50 in just the 4th over and the opening pair was looking extremely dangerous in the middle. But Andre Russell brought some relief to the KKR camp by sending back Tripathi for 27 in the 5th over. When the powerplay ended, RR reached 68/1 and Buttler’s presence gave nightmares to the hosts.
Ajinkya Rahane didn’t last long and fell prey to Kuldeep Yadav for 11 in the 8th over. The chinaman then claimed a priceless wicket of Buttler for 39 as the visitors reached 92/3 at the halfway stage. RR needed a partnership at that stage to bring some solidity to the innings.
But the track offered turn that made it difficult to survive. Sunil Narine came into the act and removed Sanju Samson for 12. Kuldeep then added one more to his wickets tally when he got Stuart Binny out stumped for just 1. All of a sudden, RR were tottering at 100/5 after 12 overs.
Mavi, who had received a beating initially, made a good comeback and bagged the wicket of Krishnappa Gowtham for 3. Kuldeep, in his final over, put the final nail in the coffin and claimed his 4th wicket in the form of Ben Stokes for 11. It was down to 107/7 after 14 overs and RR were in danger of being bowled out for a paltry score.
Jaydev Unadkat threw his bat around and collected some valuable runs. His knock of 26 off 18 balls took the team to a respectable 142 but they failed to bat out 20 overs and were bowled out with an over to spare.
A rather comfortable chase for KKR
In the pursuit of the target, the opener Narine began in his usual demeanor and smacked a six off the first ball. He gathered a total of 21 runs from the first over that included 2 fours and as many sixes. But his stay proved to be a short one as Ben Stokes accounted for his wicket in the 2nd over.
Chris Lynn was getting his eye in but he witnessed the fall of another wicket at the other end and this time, Stokes sent back Robin Uthappa for 4. Nitish Rana joined Lynn at the crease as they took the score to 51/2 after 6 overs. After scoring 21 off 17, Rana became a victim of Ish Sodhi who trapped the batsman in front of the wickets.
The skipper Karthik came out to bat and brought the much-needed calmness to the chase. The required run-rate was well under control as Karthik and Lynn stabilized the innings pretty nicely as KKR moved to 109/3 after 14 overs. Lynn was inching towards his half-century but Stokes came back to claim his 3rd wicket as the batsman departed for 45.
The muscular Russell joined his captain in the middle when the side was on the brink of a victory. Without too much fuss, the duo made sure the side achieved the target with 12 balls in hand. KKR won the match by 6 wickets and took their points tally to 14 with a match to play.
Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and opted to bowl first
Rajasthan Royals: 142/10 in 19 overs
Jos Buttler 39 (22), Rahul Tripathi 27 (15)
Kuldeep Yadav 20/4 (4), Andre Russell 13/2 (3)
Kolkata Knight Riders: 145/4 in 18 overs
Chris Lynn 45 (42), Dinesh Karthik 41* (31)
Ben Stokes 15/3 (4), Ish Sodhi 21/1 (4)
Kolkata Knight Riders won by 6 wickets
Player of the Match: Kuldeep Yadav