Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday night knocked Rajasthan Royals out of the IPL with an emphatic win, which came as a nice birthday gift to owner Shah Rukh Khan, who turns 55 on Monday.
Batting first, Kolkata Knight Riders piled up a total of 191-7 in their quota of 20 overs with Eoin Morgan making 68 in 35 balls. His unbeaten knock included 6 sixes and five fours. Rahul Tripathi and Shubman Gill contributed with 39 and 36 respectively.
Rahul Tewatia claimed three wickets, while Kartik Tyagi two KKR batsmen.
When Rajasthan Royals came to bat, they made their intention clear by scoring 19 runs in the first over. However, their desperation to hit every ball out of the ground cost them an early wicket in the first over as Robin Uthappa returned to the dressing room. Unable to learn from their mistake, Rajasthan Royals lost their key batsman in Ben Stokes in the third over as he too tried to hit Pat Cummins to the boundary.
Soon a disaster struck the side led by Steve Smith as they were reduced to 37-5 in the first five overs of the match. Tewatia and Jos Buttler batted responsibly to rebuild the innings but they too departed after scoring 31 and 35 respectively. In the end, they could only manage 131-9 after 20 overs.
Pat Cummins was the KKR’s most effective bowler as he finished with 4-34 in four overs.
With tonight’s win, Kolkata Knight Riders have jumped to fourth in the points table. They will have to wait for the result between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians. A defeat for Sunrisers Hyderabad will pave the way for the KKR’s qualification to the playoff stage.
Reacting to his side’s defeat, Steve Smith said, “I thought it was around a 180 wicket. There was a bit of dew. Losing four in the Powerplay, it was always going to be tough from there. Cummins bowled nice lengths, made us play some good shots. We got off to a flier, but then we lost wickets in a clump. Unfortunate way to end. We started off really well, won the last two before this one. In the middle we lost our way. Our batters, the top four or five didn’t take responsibility perhaps. Couple of real positives. Jofra has been exceptional pretty much every game. Tewatia obviously has pulled a few out of the hat throughout the tournament. He has bowled exceptionally well throughout the tournament. Not enough support for them.”
KKR Skipper Eoin Morgan said, “I thought 191 was a par score. I think every batsman who came back said the wicket was beautiful to bat on. And the dew came in much earlier than expecting, so no real advantage for them. We were out there to play a free-flowing aggressive game anyway. That was the only way. Regardless of the dew. One thing was Dre Russ back in. That takes out conditions from the equation. We were prepared to take more risks when we batted. Having spent a bit of time out there in the middle, the hard length was the good length to bowl. Which is what we did. Keep it as simple as possible regardless of how Royals came at us. Shivam Mavi coming back was special, and Pat Cummins obviously. Winning the game was all about taking wickets, especially early. So having that aggressive mindset was important for us. I was aware of 111 and the other one was 132. So we have kept the other milestone. I don’t think we could have done any more today. Whatever happens from here on is in the hands of cricketing gods. I do watch other cricket provided it doesn’t come in the way of family time or golf.”
Pat Cummins was declared Man Of The Match.