The Kolkata Knight Riders climbed to the top of the VIVO IPL 2019 standings after defeating the Rajasthan Royals on Sunday night. In Match 21 played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, the Knight Riders first restricted the Royals to 139 for 3 and then plundered the home team’s bowlers to register a comprehensive eight-wicket win. KKR cruised to the win in 13.5 overs.
If the Rajasthan Royals crawled to 139 in the first half of the match, the Knight Riders came out all guns blazing and took toll of the hardness of the new ball. Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn came out swinging and pounced on any error in line or length; the pair added 65 runs in the first six overs and extended their association to 91. Narine was dismissed in the ninth over – but not before he had made 47 of 25 balls, while Lynn fell immediately after he had raised his half-century.
Robbie Uthappa (25 not out) and Shubman Gill (6 not out) completed the job.
Earlier in the evening, after opting to bowl, the Kolkata Knight Riders bowled extremely well for the majority of their twenty overs to restrict the Rajasthan Royals to 139-3. It took two experienced cricketers – in the form of Jos Buttler and Steve Smith – to get the better of the conditions and guide their team to a respectable total. After the 72-run partnership between them was broken – when Buttler was dismissed in the twelfth over, Smith batted through to the end, finishing unbeaten on 73. The Royals scored 35-1 in the first seven overs and added 104 runs in the remaining 13 overs.
The debutant Harry Gurney picked up two wickets and would be the Knight Riders’ most successful bowler. Prasidh Krishna chipped in with a wicket too. Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine were extremely hard to get away, while Kuldeep Yadav conceded 33 runs in his four overs.
A mention has to be made of Dinesh Karthik’s captaincy; realising that the pitch was slow, he opened the bowling with Chawla and used up as many as seven overs of spin in the first nine overs. In contrast, the Rajasthan Royals used five overs of pace in the powerplay period, and introduced Shreyas Gopal into the attack only after the fielding restrictions had been relaxed.
Standout batting performances
It appeared both Chris Lynn and Sunil Narinewalked out with the plan of going hard early on. If Lynn got going first, picking up two boundaries off Dhawal Kulkarni in the first over, Narine got stuck into the off-spinner K Gowtham and hit him for four fours and a six in the second over.
Both batsmen had a bit of good fortune too.In the fourth over, Narine (23 then) was put down by Rahul Tripathi The very next delivery, the ball found the inside edge off Lynn’s bat and brushed the outside of the leg stump; the impact of ball on stump was enough to disturb the bails briefly, but was not enough to dislodge them completely.
The duo made their good luck count and continued to find the boundaries regularly; by the end of the powerplay period, Lynn had raced to 29 from 20 balls, and Narine was 34 from 16 balls.
Narine got to 47 after hitting the debutant leg-spinner for two sixes in the eighth over. In the following over, he unleashed a fierce cut to a googly from Shreyas Gopal, but Steve Smith took a sharp catch at slip.
Lynn brought up his half-century in the eleventh over – getting there in 31 balls. He was dismissed in the same over when a top edge found the man at deep square-leg; the Australian hit six fours and three sixes – one of those hitting a sponsor demo car on the ground.
Earlier in the evening, Steve Smith used his so many years’ experience of playing to conquer the conditions. He walked out to bat in the second over, immediately sized up the conditions and figured out that the strategy was to keep rotating the strike. He was happy to turn the strike over to Buttler, who was taking a few risks and successfully found the boundary every now and then. It wasn’t until after he had faced 16 balls that Smith collected his first boundary. He brought up his half-century in the fifteenth over, consuming 44 balls to get there. In the last three overs, he collected two boundaries and a six, giving his team some impetus as they headed back to the dressing room. Smith finished unbeaten on 73, and his 59-ball knock contained 7 fours and a six.
Standout Bowling performance
The conditions definitely favouredPiyush Chawla and Sunil Narine; however, they still had to use their skill to stifle the Rajasthan Royals batsman. Chawla bowled a lot of googlies, got them to turn big and cramped the right-handers, Narinebowled slower through the air, landed the ball repeatedly on a good length, got the ball to grip the surface and seldom gave batsmen any room. In their eight overs together, they bowled a total of 26 dot deliveries and conceded only 41 runs. It isn’t often that two wicketless bowlers are singled out for their performance, but Chawla and Narine were undoubtedly the best bowlers in the match.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 140-2 in 13.5 overs (Chris Lynn 50, Sunil Narine 47, Shreyas Gopal 2-35) defeated
Rajasthan Royals: 139-3 (Jos Buttler 37, Steve Smith 73*, Harry Gurney 2-25) by 8 wickets.
Stat of the Match
The Rajasthan Royals’ 28-1 would be their lowest powerplay score of VIVO IPL 2019. In contrast, the Knight Riders’ 65-0 would be their best powerplay score of the season.
Man of the Match:
Harry Gurney, for his 2-25.