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IPL desk in Mumbai 08 April 2012 - 07:49pm IST

Report: M7 – Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders

Royals undo KKR top-order to earn 22-run win

For the second time in a row, the Kolkata Knight Riders were let down by their batting superstars. With the drubbing at the hands of Delhi Daredevils still fresh, KKR went down against the spirited Rajasthan Royals in the latter’s Jaipur fortress. Chasing a competitive 165, the Knights folded for 142 to hand the Royals a 22-run win.

Amit Singh and Ankeet Chavan wrecked the hallowed KKR top-order to have the team reeling at 8 for three. Singh deceived Jacques Kallis with a slower one and did Gautam Gambhir in with an out-swinger off consecutive deliveries. Chawan then wrapped Brendon McCullum plumb on his pads.

The visitors never recovered from those setbacks; the body blow to KKR’s chances was dealt when Siddharth Trivedi dismissed all-rounders Yusuf Pathan and Rajat Bhatia in consecutive overs.

Manoj Tiwary waged a lone battle with a 59-run knock. With a calm head on his shoulders, the young man carved out a fine half-century under pressure. Most of his seven boundaries came in the third-man region as he resisted the lure of big hits. But with his partners changing with every blink of an eye, there wasn’t much he could do. Brett Lee’s (25 off 11 balls) fireworks took the team closer to the target but were not quite enough to overhaul it.

At the toss, Gautam Gambhir had no hesitation in fielding first after calling it right. Running out RR’s previous game’s hero Ajinkya Rahane with a sharp direct-hit in the second over, the KKR captain set the ball rolling for his team.

After losing Rahane due to a misunderstanding, Rahul Dravid delighted spectators for a while, playing contrasting shots with equal effect. He pulled and swept his way to two sixes and also executed typically elegant square-cut and cover-drive for fours. The joy ended when Iqbal Abdullah ran him out for 26. Soon, Shreevats Goswami perished to wrong shot-selection, giving Rajat Bhatia a breakthrough.

With the Royals’ boat rocking at 61 for three, Ashok Menaria and Brad Hodge not only stabilised it but also upped the ante. Hodge was particularly severe on Yusuf Pathan and Jacques Kallis, plundering them for two sixes and three boundaries in the span of eight balls. After playing wonderfully well for his 44 off 29 balls, Hodge suffered a brain-freeze moment. Positioned for the switch-hit against Brett Lee, he changed his mind and tried to play a scoop. All he managed was an edge that was taken by Brendon McCullum behind the wicket.

Menaria, however, stuck in there after the end of his 64-run stand with Hodge. The young all-rounder saw off the good balls and put the bad ones away to score four boundaries and a six en route to his 30-ball 40. He lost his middle stump to Lee in the penultimate over, trying to go for a smash through the covers. Owais Shah added substance to RR’s score with a 11-ball cameo of 23.

Scorecard

Man-of-the-Match: Man of the Match: Brad Hodge for a blistering knock of 44 off 29 balls, including four boundaries and two sixes.

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