Report: Match 25 - RR vs KKR

Watson and Tambe shine as Knight Riders crumble

By Harsh Kalan
Mumbai 05 May 2014
Thanks to a triple-blow by Shane Watson, followed by the first hat-trick of the tournament a la Pravin Tambe, the Rajasthan Royals were able to ride home with a 10-run win in Ahmedabad. After posting 170 for six, RR were initially unable to create any dents in the KKR line-up, thanks to a 121-run opening stand between Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir. However, the match took a sharp turn in the 15th over, as six wickets fell in the space of eight deliveries, courtesy the Watson-Tambe show. KKR could not recover from these setbacks and could only manage 160 for six at the end of 20 overs.

Earlier, KKR won the toss and opted to field first. RR opened their innings with Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair. Both batsmen began on a positive note and scored 50 runs in the powerplay. However, a sharp piece of fielding by Sunil Narine ran Rahane (30) out in the seventh over. Sanju Samson walked in at No.3 for RR. Along with Nair, he took the score to 76 for one at the halfway mark. And then, the pair brought up RR’s 100 in the 13th over of the innings.

However, soon thereafter, Shakib Al Hasan had Nair (44) stumped with the scorecard reading 105 for two in 13.3 overs. This wicket brought Shane Watson to the crease. The RR skipper did not waste any time before going after the opposition bowlers, and started striking the ball to, and over, the fence at regular intervals. Meanwhile, Samson (37) failed in his attempt to dispatch Narine out of the park and holed out near the deep midwicket fence. Watson (31) then took his side past the 150-run mark in the 18th over. But Narine soon dismissed him, thanks to a well-judged catch – which required some fancy footwork – by Suryakumar Yadav.

The KKR fielder then plucked off another outfield catch – this time to get rid of Steve Smith off Vinay Kumar’s bowling. And then soon after, Ryan ten Doeschate pouched a remarkable catch of his own – to see Stuart Binny’s (11) back in the final over. But thanks to a late big hit by Rajat Bhatia (6*), RR managed to salvage the 20th over and ended up posting 170 for six.

In response, Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir came out to bat at the top of the KKR order. And just like the RR openers, even this duo added 50 runs in the powerplay while taking advantage of any loose offerings from the opposition bowlers. The pair continued to score freely while ensuring their opening stand remained intact. Uthappa, who took charge of the partnership, even reached his half-century a short while before KKR reached the three-figure mark.

Despite the RR bowlers’ best efforts, there was no sign of a wicket as even Gambhir (54) reached his fifty in the 14th over. But finally, the KKR skipper departed off the bowling of Watson with the score on 121. The RR skipper then got Uthappa (65) out two balls later; and finally, much to the delight of the local supporters, Watson bowled Andre Russell (1) out off the fifth delivery of the same over.

Then, Pravin Tambe further swung the momentum in RR’s favour by effecting the stumping of Manish Pandey (0). From 121 for no loss, KKR had stumbled to 123 for four in a matter of six deliveries. And just when things could not get any worse for the visitors, Tambe caught Yusuf Pathan off his own bowling on the very next ball. The 42-year-old leggie then bagged the first hat-trick of Pepsi IPL 2014 by trapping ten Doeschate (0) leg-before off the very next ball. At the end of the eventful 16th over, KKR were struggling on 126 for six.

Then, with 39 needed off 18 balls, Shakib Al Hasan played a key role in plundering 15 runs from the 18th over. James Faulkner then bowled the 19th over and ended up conceding just seven runs off it. With 17 required off six balls, Watson decided to roll his arm over and ended up sealing a 10-run win for his side.

After the match, Pravin Tambe was presented the Purple Cap for rising atop the Pepsi IPL 2014 wicket-takers list with a total of 12 scalps.

Man of the Match: Pravin Tambe for his game-changing hat-trick. 
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