Kolkata Knight Riders crushed the mighty Rajasthan Royals and knocked them out of the tournament in a high octane Eliminator match by ensuring a 25 run victory over the visitors at Eden Gardens Kolkata. The Kolkata Knight Riders will now be taking on the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Qualifier-2 match on 24th May at the same venue and the team that emerges victorious will be locking horns with the Kings of IPL – the Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell’s knock helped Kolkata Knight Riders cruise into the Qualifier-2
KKR got off to a terrible start as they were reduced to a total of 24 runs at the loss of 3 wickets. Still, they managed to survive the attack and went on to put up a decent total of 169. Skipper Dinesh Karthik led from the front and played a captain’s knock of 52 of 38 balls along with the backing of an explosive Rusell who slammed 49 of 25 balls.
Looks like KKR’s gamble of making Karthik as their skipper turned to a successful one. Nobody would have expected at the start of the tournament that he would play a key role in steering KKR to wins in crucial stages. He has evolved significantly as a player in the course of the tournament.
There were a few eyebrows raised in the start regarding his captaincy abilities but the skipper managed to shut those critics by guiding his team to the top spots and then into the Qualifiers. Coming in at a time when the team looked crippled in 4 overs, Dinesh successfully anchored from one end to put up a decent partnership with Chris Lynn before accelerating up the run rate.
Young Shubhman Gill’s cameo (28) did help the skipper in taking up the strike and taking on the attack onto the bowlers. But, it was only after Russell dived in that the actual assault on RR took place. Russell smashed the RR bowling attack by scoring 49 of 25 balls which included 5-6s and 3-4s.
Spinners turned the game away from Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals started off pretty well with the bat but lost their chasing momentum in the middle overs. Ajinkya Rahane could be termed as one of the reasons for their failure in what was expected as a chasable total. RR struggled to go for slog shots in the middle and the death overs which were crucial in maintaining a healthy run rate.
Samsun and Rahane’s 62 run partnership in 9 overs is what took the game away from RR. Rajasthan’s over-cautious approach in tonight’s match cost them their game. If they would have resorted to slog hitting then probably RR would have advanced to the Qualifier-2 in place of KKR. The absence of destructive players like Buttler and Stokes visible in tonight’s game.
The trio of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, and Kuldeep Yadav was successful in slowing down the scoring ability of Rajasthan Royals. Though they couldn’t bowl out the entire Rajasthan Royals, but succeeded in their attempt of taking up the top order comprising of skipper Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, and Sanju Samsun.
Narine initially was smashed for 25 runs in his first 2 overs but bounced back in his remaining ones. Kuldeep Yadav was highly economical as he conceded mere 18 runs in his 4 overs and ended up taking the crucial wicket of Rahane. But, it was Piyush Chawla who got the major breakthroughs by taking up the wickets of set batsman Sanju Samsun and opener Rahul Tripathi.
let’s see if Kolkata Knight Riders is able to recreate this magic against SRH in the Qualifier-2 and advance into the finals for the 3rd time in IPL history.