Inspired Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowlers set the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on fire as they came out all guns blazing to help their team to a thumping 37-run win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the 12th IPL match here on Wednesday night.
It was RR’s first defeat of the tournament while KKR registered their second win in three games.
While defending 174/6 in 20 overs, the KKR bowlers not only picked wickets at regular intervals but they were also quite economical as most of the RR batsman faltered. Barring Tom Curran, who scored a 36-ball 54 not out, the other RR batters succumbed against the clinical KKR bowlers.
For KKR, Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, and Varun Chakravarthy scalped two batsmen each and the trio received good support from Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, and KuldeepYadav, who all settled with a wicket each.
Put into bat by RR, KKR scored 174 for six wickets in 20 overs and while Steve Smith’s Rajasthan team made 137/9 wickets in 20 overs.
Chasing the target, half of the RR side was back to the pavilion with just 42 runs on board. The RR side suffered a top-order collapse as all their in-form batters — Smith (3), Sanju Samson (8), Jos Buttler (21), Robin Uthappa (2), and Riyan Parag (1) — fell cheaply.
Moreover, RR’s young batting sensation Rahul Tewatia, who was one of the architects of their previous win, failed to replicate the show as he fell for 14. That left RR reeling at 66/6.
Curran tried his best to avoid a humiliating defeat with some fireworks down the order, but lack of support from the other end couldn’t help RR cross the line.
Shreyas Gopal (5), Jofra Archer (6) and Jaydev Unadkat (9), too, couldn’t do much while Ankit Rajpoot remained unbeaten on seven runs as RR went down by 37 runs. Curran’s fighting innings was laced with two boundaries and three sixes.
Earlier, KKR openers Subhman Gill (47) and Sunil Narine (15) started the proceedings cautiously. However, the partnership couldn’t last long as Jaydev Unadkat trapped the latter in the fifth over with the scorecard reading 36/1.
Gill and next batsman Nitish Rana (22) then forged a 46-run stand, taking their side past the 50-run mark in 6.5 overs. However, Rahul Tewatia cut short Rana’s stay after dismissing him in the 10th over.
The RR bowlers further jolted KKR, who lost the wickets of Gill, Dinesh Karthik (1) and Andre Russell (24) with the addition of 33 runs as the two-time IPL champions were reduced to 115/5 in 14.2 overs.
While Jofra Archer accounted for the wicket of a well-settled Gill and KKR skipper Karthik, Russell became a victim of Ankit Rajpoot. Gill’s knock contained five boundaries a six.
Russell was caught at deep backward point as a miscued shot from him failed to clear the fence.
Eoin Morgan (34 not out) and Pat Cummins (12) were then involved in a 34-run stand for the sixth wicket before Tom Curran sent back the latter in the 18th over. Curran leaked 16 runs off the final over as KKR managed to reach a respectable total of 174/6.
Brief scores: KKR 174/6 in 20 overs (Shubman Gill 47, Eoin Morgan 34 not out; Jofra Archer 2/18) beat RR 137/9 in 20 overs (Tom Curran 54 not out, Jos Buttler 21; Kamlesh Nagarkoti 2/13) by 37 runs.