IPL 2018 | Match 49 | KKR vs RR: Kolkata Knight Riders defeated the Rajasthan Royals by six wickets last night at the Eden Gardens.

Fortunately, the rain gods did not make a visit as expected and allowed the game to take place with no problem. 

Shivam Mavi came back for KKR while Piyush Chawla sat out. Ish Sodhi, Anureet Singh, and Rahul Tripathi came back in to replace D’Arcy Short, Shreyas Gopal and Dhawal Kulkarni for the Rajasthan Royals. 

KKR won the toss and placed RR to bat. Dinesh Karthik definitely made the right decision as KKR’s strength has been to chase. 

Rahul Tripathi (27) and Jos Buttler (39) opened for the Rajasthan Royals and together set a momentum, that was soon diminished by the rest of the batsmen. The power-play saw a partnership score of 68 runs and Tripathi’s dismissal by Andre Russell. Ajinkya Rahane (11) had a short spell on the field for around two overs. Sanju Samson (12) came in to replace him and still couldn’t get back in form. Buttler was then taken out by Sunil Narine through an lbw and Samson followed him in the very next over. Ben Stokes (11) and Stuart Binny (1) continued lowering the strike rate and did not make any significant contributions. Even Krishnappa Gowtham (3), who’s been known to take over when things were looking down for the team, was not able to add much to the score. Jaydev Unadkat added 26 runs to the board and became the last wicket to end their innings. The game ended quickly with Ish Sodhi (1) and Jofra Archer (6) getting out one after the other after which Unadkat tried to make it through the last over but lost his footing as well, ending the innings in nineteen overs with an average score of 142 all out. 

KKR took down RR one by one over after over. The regular fall of wickets didn’t allow any opportunity for the Ajinkya Rahane-led side to raise the score. Kuldeep Yadav was the star of the match with his spectacular bowling. The 23-year old left-hand bowler took down four wickets and did not allow for more than 20 runs to slip out of his grasp in his four overs. Most importantly, he took their two major threats, Jos Buttler and Rahane out of the way after which it was smooth sailing for KKR. Andre Russell and Prasidh took two wickets each but Prasidh let too much slip out of his pocket. Prasidh, however, did take the winning wicket while Russell took the opening wicket. Narine took out Samson with an lbw. Shivam Mavi was not back in form after his injury as he let go of 44 runs in his overs. Other than Yadav, the other bowlers let too many points be added to the table, however, the regular pattern of wicket-taking helped throw off the opponent team and these runs ended up not making much of a difference. 

KKR opened their innings with Sunil Narine (21) and Chris Lynn (45). The team lost Narine pretty early on to Stokes but not before he built a good foundation with 21 runs. Robin Uthappa (4) came in to replace him but did not have a good outing as he was taken out by Stokes too. By the end of the powerplay, KKR lost two wickets with only 51 runs on the board, RR seemed to have a chance. However, Chris Lynn powered the team to 117 along with Nitish Rana (21) and Dinesh Karthik (41). After Lynn left the field in the sixteenth over, Karthik took over with Russell (11) to win the match with one over left to spare. KKR had a good day on the batting field with no bumps on the road. 

Ben Stokes put in a great effort to not allow for an easy win for the Kolkata boys, taking down three crucial wickets and restricting the team to only 15 runs in his four overs, however, his efforts were futile. Krishnappa Gowtham didn’t perform on the bowling front either as he let go of 32 runs in the two overs he bowled. Ish Sodhi served an lbw to Nitish Rana while the rest were too clumsy and paved the way for KKR’s victory. SRK will definitely be smiling now.

Rajasthan Royals lost two valuable points at a very crucial time of the season as they were snapped out of their dreamland. Buttler’s inability to swoop in and fly the team to victory broke their chances of winning in the first place. None of the other batsmen were able to take his place as they let go of a very important win from their grasp. KKR is now the top contender for the third playoff spot with 14 points. 

Both teams will be back up and playing on Saturday, KKR against the in-form Sunrisers Hyderabad and RR against nothing-to-lose Royal Challengers Bangalore.

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