MUMBAI: Rajasthan Royals on Monday pipped Kolkata Knight Riders by seven runs in a high-scoring encounter played at Mumbai. Chasing 218, Kolkata were bowled out for 210 in 19.4 overs despite terrific innings from captain Shreyas Iyer and Aaron Finch.
After Kolkata won the toss and opted to field, their bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Rajasthan opener Jos Buttler who is in the midst of excellent form. Buttler went after bowlers from the word go and executed his shots fearlessly and with finesse. He and Devdutt Paddikal added 97 runjs for the first wicket in just 9.4 overs. Paddikal wisely held one end and provided fine support to Buttler, who was going hammer and tongs, before he was cleaned up by off-spinner Sunil Narine for 24.
Rajasthan Captain Sanju Samson played a few customy exquisite shots and reeled off a quick-fire 38. His innings was marked with two gorgeous sixes and three boundaries. In the 17th over, Buttler smote Pat Cummins over long-on for a six to bring up his second hundred of the season. He had scored a ton against Mumbai earlier in the tournament.
In the last two overs, Shimron Hetmyer thumped a couple of sixes to propel Rajasthan to 217 in 20 novers, which is the highest score by any team so far in the IPL 2022.
Though Sunil Narine perished on the first ball, Aaron Finch and Shreyas Iyer went on the rampage and stitched up a 107-run partnership for the second wicket in just 9 overs. At that stage, it looked as if Kolkata could chase the stiff target at a canter. However, after Finch fell to the pacer Prasidh Krishna for 58 (off 28 balls), Kolkata’s innings began to unravel. Nitish Rana and Andre Russell also fell in quick succession. Iyer continued to score runs from one end but was running out of partners.
In the 17th over, Yuzvendra Chahal stepped up and snapped up wickets including a hat-trick. First he trapped Iyer before the wickets, then had Shivam Dube caught by Riyan Parag and finally nailed Cummins to seal a fabulous hat-trick.
Kolkata couldn’t recover from this jolt and were bowled out for 210 in 19.4 overs despite Umesh Yadav’s short cameo in the end. Chahal was declared Man of the Match for his five-wicket haul.
“I had to take wickets in this match to change the result. I worked on my bowling. I spoke to the coaches and the skipper. I would have been happy with a dot ball as well on my hat-trick ball,” he said after the match.
Rajasthan captain Samson said the win is the result of a great team effort. “It got tense in the end. The quality of players made it very interesting. I’m very happy for the win. There are some things that need to be used at the right time. You need to be smart enough to slow it down. I respect KKR as a unit,” he stated.
“We never thought we were in the game. I think I don’t need to talk much about individuals. We are lucky to have great players. Special mention to Ashwin for his delivery to Russell. McCoy is an interesting guy. He doesn’t talk much but seems to be in control over his bowling skills,” he concluded.
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