Dubai: Eoin Morgan led from the front while Pat Cummins starred with the ball as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat Rajasthan Royal (RR) by 60 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at Dubai on Sunday (November 1) and kept their playoff hopes alive.
Defending 191, KKR conceded 19 runs on the first five balls. But then, KKR turned it on with the ball. Cummins had Robin Uthappa caught on the final ball of the first over. Cummins, bowling his second over, picked two big wickets as RR lost Ben Stokes and Steve Smith. While Stokes got out after Dinesh Karthik toon a one-handed stunner, Smith dragged one back onto the stumps.
Shivam Mavi gave KKR their fourth wicket after he had Sanju Samson caught behind the wickets before Cummins, bowling his third over in the powerplay, picked his fourth wicket, dismissing Riyan Parag with a short ball.
Jos Buttler and Rahul Tewatia then added 43 runs together but Varun Chakravarthy broke the partnership after Buttler who scored 35, was holed out in the deep. While Tewatia put up some fight and scored 31, Chakravarthy dismissed the left-hander soon after RR moved past 100.
KKR eventually restricted RR to 131/9 to complete a comprehensive 60-run win. Earlier, RR, who elected to bowl, retained the same playing XI while Andre Russell and Shivam Mavi returned to KKR’s playing XI, replacing Lockie Ferguson and Rinku Singh.
Jofra Archer struck in the first over as Nitish Rana got out without troubling the scorers. Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi though counterattacked to power KKR to 55/1 after the end of the powerplay.
But RR broke the second-wicket partnership between the two after Tewatia got the wicket of Gill in the ninth over. The leg-spinner picked one more in the same over as Sunil Narine got out for zero.
RR continued to chip away as KKR then lost Tripathi and Dinesh Karthik just before the team could reach the 100-run mark. KKR though managed to regain the momentum as Russell and Morgan added a quickfire 45 off 18 deliveries. While Russell had moved to 25 in no time and looked set for a big one, he got out in the 16th over.
Morgan, who had earlier hammered two sixes and as many fours in the 14th over, then took it upon himself as he went after his England teammate Ben Stokes in the penultimate over, clobbering three sixes and a four to take KKR past 180 and complete his first fifty of the season. The left-hander hit another six in the final over to move to his career-best IPL score of 68 and powered KKR to 191/7.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 191/7 (Eoin Morgan 68*, Rahul Tripathi 39; Rahul Tewatia 3/25) beat Rajasthan Royals 131/9 (Jos Buttler 35, Rahul Tewatia 31; Pat Cummins 4/34) by 60 runs.