Low scoring matches has been the trend of this year’s IPL and we again witnessed yet another low scoring encounter involving the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals. Kolkata Knight Riders edged out Rajasthan Royals by five wickets in a match that was dominated by the spinners. Chasing a challenging 132 to win on a slow turner, Kolkata Knight Riders managed to overhaul it with four balls to spare.
Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to bat on a typical Eden Gardens track. A slow and turning deck saw the inclusion of spinners from both sides. While Sunil Narine replaced Brett Lee for the Knight Riders, Brad Hogg made his way into the Royals in place of Cooper.
The Royals got off to a steady start with Rahane and Dravid adding 45 runs in the power play. But it all went south for the Royals once Shakib-al-Hasan was introduced into the attack. Shakib encountered for Rahane with his very first ball and went on to grab three wickets for just 17 in his quota of overs. Shakib bowled a tight line and turned the ball prodigiously to unsettle the Royals batsmen. Sunil Narine, too, supported him and returned with figures of 1/22.
Though Sreevats Goswami and Owaish Shah strung in a partnership of 59 runs, the Knight Riders denied them the required momentum. Goswami played a hand of 24 while Shah managed a 33 ball 31. The Knight Riders looked well on their way to restrict Rajasthan below 125, but an expensive last over from Balaji turned the tables. Brad Hodge and Johan Botha amassed 15 runs of the last over to take the Rajasthan Royals past 130.
The Knight Riders began their chase cautiously but lost captain Gautam Gambhir to an indecision between the two openers. Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis got into the repair job and added 47 runs before Botha trapped Kallis in front of his stumps. Kallis struggled to get into his rhythm and made a 38 ball 31.
Bisla, too, departed soon for 29 when he tried to hit Menaria into the stands. Brad Hogg got Rajasthan back into the game when he had the well set Manoj Tiwari stumped. Tiwari looked comfortable in the middle before misreading a wrong one from Hogg but decisive blows from Shakib, Yusuf Pathan and Ryan ten Doeschate saw the Knight Riders home. For Rajasthan Royals, Botha, Hogg, Menaria and Singh grabbed one wicket each.
The win here for Kolkata Knight Riders gives them two victories on a trot as they take on the Kings XI in their next game while consecutive defeats for Rajasthan Royals will keep them under some pressure as they lock horns with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Rajasthan Royals 131/5 (20/20 ov)
Kolkata Knight Riders 137/5 (19.2/20 ov)
Man of the Match: Shakib -al-Hasan