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Rajasthan Royals bagged two points from their tied game against Kolkata Knight Riders as they snuck ahead of their opposition based on their boundary count when even a Super Over could not separate the two teams.
Earlier, Shane Watson won the toss and chose to take first strike in Abu Dhabi, and Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair came out to open the innings for RR. However, Vinay Kumar bowled Nair (1) out in the third over itself. Sanju Samson then joined Rahane in the middle. The pair kept the scorecard ticking and took RR past the 50-run mark in the eighth over. They added 41 runs before Shakib Al Hasan cleaned up Samson (20), leaving RR on 54 for two.
Shane Watson then took strike opposite Rahane, who had already got his eye in. The duo ensured they laid the platform for a competitive score as they constructed a valuable third-wicket stand. They brought up the team’s 100 and the 50 of the partnership in the 15th over; and shortly thereafter, Rahane reached his half-century as well. But finally, KKR caught a break as Watson (33) was run-out after adding 64 runs in seven-and-a-half overs.
Rahane, however, kept going after the KKR bowlers. And while he was separated from Stuart Binny (0) just a short while later, the diminutive opener ensured his team put up a competitive total on the board. However, even Rahane (72) departed in the 20th over when he was caught at long-on while going for a big one off Vinay Kumar. Steve Smith (18*) and James Faulkner (2*) then took RR to 152 for five at the end of regulation. For KKR, Vinay Kumar took two wickets, while Morne Morkel and Shakib Al Hasan claimed a scalp each.
In response, skipper Gautam Gambhir and Manvinder Bisla took guard for KKR up front. And after a spate of misfires, Gambhir finally found form. While Bisla (3), in his first game of the season, was dismissed by Kane Richardson cheaply, Gambhir held the innings together. On a day when even the experienced Jacques Kallis (13) – the next man in – failed to make much of an impact, the southpaw lent stability to the run-chase.
Gambhir was then joined by Manish Pandey, with KKR still 103 runs adrift of the target. But despite Gambhir’s best efforts, the required run-rate kept creeping up, and at one point, the run-chase equation read 80 off 48 balls. That is when Pandey (19) stepped up to the plate and took the attack to Pravin Tambe, who had earlier claimed Kallis’ wicket. But after smashing the leggie for a six and a four, the right-hand batsman was trapped leg-before by the bowler in the same over.
With KKR on 85 for three and the match interestingly poised, Suryakumar Yadav came to bat with his captain. But before the duo could add any substance to the chase, Gambhir (45) got out off the bowling of Rajat Bhatia in the 14th over. Then with Shakib Al Hasan for company, Yadav stepped on the accelerator. Thanks to both batsmen’s exploits, KKR brought down the run-chase equation to 16 off the last two overs. That’s when Faulkner took rolled his arm over and ended the dangerous Yadav’s (31) 19-ball knock off his first delivery. The Australian pacer then bowled Robin Uthappa (0) out with KKR needing 12 runs off eight balls. And off the very next delivery, Faulkner repeated the feat against Vinay Kumar (0). However, he missed out on a hat-trick by a whisker as the next ball barely missed Piyush Chawla’s stumps.
Richardson then bowled a full-toss first up in the 20th over, and it was dispatched for a boundary by Shakib Al Hasan. However, Chawla (0) was run-out off the next delivery while attempting a dangerous second run. After a wide and a single by Sunil Narine (1*), Shakib Al Hasan was back on strike with KKR five runs away from victory. Richardson then bowled a dot-ball, after which the batsmen ran for a double. With three required off one ball, Shakib Al Hasan (27*) struck the ball down the ground to steal another double. With KKR ending their 20 overs on 152 for eight, the regulation period ended in a tie and the game headed into the Super Over.
KKR, who took first shot at the Super Over, went with Yadav and Shakib Al Hasan, while Faulkner took the ball for RR. Yadav was run-out off the first ball while trying to sneak in two quick runs. Pandey then walked in for KKR, and he took a single off the first delivery he faced. Even the next ball only produced a single, but one after that was struck for a maximum by Pandey. The ball after that produced another single. And then off the final delivery, Shakib Al Hasan was run-out while sneaking in a two. In all, KKR managed to score 12 off the Super Over.
In response, RR sent out Watson and Smith to face the wily Narine. The RR captain got a single off the first ball, while Smith snuck in for two off the next. The next ball produced a one, but the delivery after that was struck for a four in the midwicket region by Watson. He then took a single off the next ball, while Smith smartly placed the ball for a double off the final delivery. Despite a tied Super Over, RR took home the two points on offer since they had a higher boundary count in the game.
Man of the Match: James Faulkner for his outstanding bowling performance (2-0-11-3)
Kings XI Punjab continued their dominance in Pepsi IPL 2014 by registering a five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, in Dubai. With this victory, KXIP end their UAE leg as the only undefeated team in the league. Powered by outstanding bowling performances from Sandeep Sharma, Rishi Dhawan and Mitchell Johnson, the Mohali franchise restricted a strong RCB line-up to 124 for eight. And later, their batsmen ensured they scaled the meagre total with five wickets in hand and seven balls to spare. With this win, KXIP solidify their position atop the points table heading into the India leg of the tournament.
Earlier, KXIP won the toss and asked RCB to take first strike. And upon his return in RCB colours, Chris Gayle got off to a flyer. He made his presence felt almost immediately by striking two fours and two huge sixes. However, after taking his team to 21 in just 1.2 overs, Gayle’s (20) seven-ball cameo ended; Sandeep Sharma bowled him out, much to the delight of the KXIP faithful. Virat Kohli (4) then joined Parthiv Patel in the middle, but the RCB skipper was trapped leg-before by Sandeep Sharma immediately after he dispatched the first ball he faced to the fence. The situation worsened for RCB as Yogesh Takawale (0) was caught behind the wicket by Wriddhiman Saha off Mitchell Johnson in the third over of the innings. Even Parthiv Patel (2) did not last long; he became Sandeep Sharma’s third victim of the night. At that point, RCB’s score read 26 for four in 3.5 overs.
That is when Yuvraj Singh joined forces with AB de Villiers. The duo somewhat stabilised the faltering innings and entertained the crowd with some great strokeplay. They even took their team past the 50-run mark during their 41-run partnership. However, with the score on 67, the duo was separated by Rishi Dhawan, who dismissed de Villiers (17) in the 10th over. Then, Albie Morkel (15) paired up with Yuvraj Singh, but even he departed before converting a decent start into a meaningful score; Lakshmipathy Balaji bowled him out, leaving RCB on 93 for six in the 14th over.
Soon after that, Dhawan dismissed a well-set Yuvraj Singh (35) to make it 97 for seven. Mitchell Starc (8) and Varun Aaron then added 23 runs for the eighth wicket, until the former was bowled out by Mitchell Johnson in the final over of the innings. Aaron (11*) and Ashok Dinda (2*) then played out the rest of the innings and stretched the RCB score to 124 for eight at the end of the 20th over, which cost KXIP a mere four runs.
While Sandeep Sharma (3-1-15-3) was the pick of the KXIP bowlers, Johnson (4-0-19-2) and Dhawan (4-0-14-2) also played a big role in dismantling the RCB line-up.
In response, KXIP persisted with the opening pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag. The duo added 22 for the first wicket, until Pujara (10) was dismissed by Dinda in the fifth over. And while Sehwag continued playing some fabulous strokes, he lost another partner in Saha (2) just a short while later; Aaron got rid of the KXIP wicketkeeper-batsman – courtesy a great catch by Starc – in the sixth over. Kings XI managed 33 for the loss of two wickets during the powerplay.
At the fall of the second wicket, Glenn Maxwell (6) came in to bat. However, much to the disappointment of KXIP fans, the current Orange Cap holder got out early; Starc took another spectacular catch in the deep off Aaron’s bowling to get rid of the hard-hitting Australian. He was replaced by another flamboyant stroke-maker, David Miller, with the scorecard reading 40 for three in 7.1 overs. And while it wasn’t Maxwell’s night, Miller did contribute with a valuable knock. In Sehwag’s company, the South African batsman added 45 for the fourth wicket. Eventually, Miller (26) was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal, leaving KXIP on 85 for four in 12.2 overs.
And just when it seemed like RCB were out of the contest, Chahal struck again in the same over to end Sehwag’s (32) knock. However, KXIP skipper George Bailey (16*) and the ever-reliable Rishi Dhawan (23*) ensured their side did not suffer any more setbacks as they took their side over the line with seven balls to spare.
Man of the Match: Sandeep Sharma for his game-changing bowling performance