Rajasthan Royals secured a thrilling 3-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the 43rd match of IPL 2019 played at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Thursday. It was KKR's 6th successive loss in a row, which means they are now level with RR and RCB in terms of points earned in the IPL points table, but just ahead of those two because of a superior NRR.
Rajasthan Royals captain Steven Smith won the toss and elected to field first. It was a perfect start for the visitors as Varun Aaron dismissed Chris Lynn in the first over itself.
Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana struggled to time the ball, and soon Aaron struck again by dismissing the young Gill for 14. At the end of six overs, KKR had reached 32 for 2.
After the powerplay, Shreyas Gopal dismissed Nitish Rana for 21. Dinesh Karthik, who promoted himself to number 4, took time to settle, but he and Sunil Narine added 42 runs for the 4th wicket before Narine was run out for 11 runs.
The KKR captain eventually got into his groove and started putting pressure on the RR bowlers. Andre Russell could only score 14 off 14 balls while Carlos Braithwaite made just 5 runs, but Karthik kept going and he reached his fifty off 35 balls.
The skipper was in excellent hitting mood in the last five overs and completely took apart the RR bowlers. Kolkata Knight Riders ended up posting 175 for 6 in 20 overs, with Karthik and Rinku Singh adding 44 unbeaten runs for the 7th wicket.
Chasing the target of 176 runs, Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson took a shine to KKR's new-ball bowlers and hit a string of blistering boundaries. But Sunil Narine got the breakthrough by dismissing Rahane for 34.
Rahane and Samson had added 53 runs for the opening wicket, and at the end of six overs Rajasthan Royals were 55 for 1.
After the powerplay, KKR's spinners picked wickets at regular intervals which put pressure on the Rajasthan batsmen. They dismissing Samson, Smith, Ben Stokes and Stuart Binny to derail the run chase.
Shreyas Gopal scored a quickfire 18 off 8 balls, but RR were soon reduced to 123 for 6. It was then that Riyan Parag and Jofra Archer turned the game around, taking the attack to the KKR bowlers by adding 44 runs for the 7th wicket.
Andre Russell dismissed Parag for a brilliant 47 off 31 balls, but the damage had already been done. With 9 runs required off the last over, Archer hit a four and a six to help Rajasthan Royals secure a three-wicket win.
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 177 for 7 in 19.2 overs (Riyan Parag 47, Ajinkya Rahane 34, Jofra Archer 27*, Piyush Chawla 3/20, Sunil Narine 2/25) beat KKR 175 for 6 in 20 overs (Dinesh Karthik 97*, Nitish Rana 21, Varun Aaron 2/20, Oshane Thomas 1/32) by 3 wickets.
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