By Devarchit Varma
Jaipur: Apr 8, 2013
After setting a target of 145 runs to win, Rajasthan bowled out the Knight Riders for 125 in 19 overs to seal their second consecutive win in the tournament.
Eoin Morgan‘s half-century was the only bright spot for the defending champions as others failed to convert start into big scores. Morgan slammed three sixes and as many boundaries to score 51 off 38 balls, but his effort went in vain.
For the Royals, Kevon Cooper impressed with the figures of 4-0-15-3, while Siddharth Trivedi registered the figures of 4-0-23-3.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir provided Kolkata Knight Riders a rollicking start in the opening over, smashing 14 runs off S Sreesanth which included a six over the deep square leg and a boundary.
Former Australian pacer Shaun Tait started off on a bad note, giving away two wides in his first over and the pressure on the home side was visible after an expensive first over.
The Knight Riders knocked off 18 runs off the first two overs, and it looked as the Rajasthan bowlers will have to work hard to trouble the opposition batsmen.
But rookie Rahul Sharma had other plans, cleaning up the right-hand opener Manvinder Bisla for one on the second ball of his first over, and getting Jacques Kallis caught behind the wickets for naught behind the wickets.
After losing quick wickets, Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary got into the clean-up mode and to rebuild Kolkata’s chase. Kolkata reached 40 for two after the first six overs.
But their resistance was ended soon when Siddharth Trivedi trapped Tiwary in front of the wickets on the first delivery of the sixth over, and followed it up with the key scalp of Gambhir three balls later to leave the tourists in disarray.
Caribbean cricketer Kevon Cooper added more to Kolkata’s woes in the next over, when he bagged the key wicket of Yusuf Pathan to leave KKR in tatters.
England batsman Eoin Morgan dropped the anchor to steady Kolkata, picking up runs on lose balls and defending the good ones. After seeing off a few initial overs when the pressure was over his side, he played strokes on both the side of the wickets to keep the scoreboard ticking.
The left-handed batsmen swatted a six off Trivedi’s final over and 12th of the innings, as the Rajasthan bowler leaked 15 runs. Morgan carried the momentum as he cracked a boundary between the long-off and extra cover off Rahul Shukla in the next over, and a six over the long-off boundary two balls later.
Tait was called back into the attack and he immediately provided Rajasthan the breakthrough, getting Rajat Bhatia caught at deep mid-wicket. But Tait failed to maintain pressure as Morgan picked up two consecutive boundaries on the last two balls to keep KKR in hunt.
In the 16th over, Brett Lee fell to Sreesanth in a bid to score quick runs, getting caught for five.
Hodge scored a fluent 46 not out while Rahane scored a gritty 36 to lift the Royals to a competitive total of 144 for six from their allotted 20 overs, despite losing wickets at regular intervals.
The 38-year-old Australian cricketer faced 31 balls during his stay, which was studded with seven boundaries.
Brett Lee, who took a wicket on the very first ball of the tournament in KKR’s first match, started off on an impressive note, giving away only one run in the first over.
The former Australian speedster jolted the home side in his second over, getting the dangerous Shane Watson caught by Eoin Morgan for five.
Opener Ajinkya Rahane and skipper Rahul Dravid then joined forces to take Rajasthan ahead, batting cautiously at the start and kept rotating the strike. The Royals scored 35 runs in the first six overs, losing one wicket.
Dravid fell to Kolkata Knight Riders’ bowler Rajat Bhatia as he tried to play across the line, missing the ball completely, which went on to crash into the wickets. The Rajasthan captain faced 20 balls during his stay at the crease, cracking two boundaries to score 17.
Dravid and Rahane added 35 runs for the second wicket.
Stuart Binny carried his good form with the bat as he showed aggressive intent right from the start. The right-hand batsmen cracked a boundary off Jacques Kallis in the ninth over of the innings, and followed it up with two hits to the fence off Bhatia to keep Rajasthan on track.
But his resistance ended in the 11th over of the innings when Laxmi Ratan Shukla trapped him in front of the wickets for 14. Binny’s dismissal brought veteran Australian cricketer Brad Hodge at the crease, who started off with a boundary on the first ball he faced.
On the other end, Rahane continued batting confidently, picking up runs all over the park. He welcomed Shami Ahmed back in his spell with a six over the covers off the first ball of the 15th over. The Royals crossed the 100-run mark in the same over.
But Rahane’s innings came to an end in the first ball of the 16th over, when he was caught behind the wickets by Manvinder Bisla off Sunil Narine for 36. Rahane cracked three boundaries and a six to score 36 from 34 balls.
The star Caribbean spinner then jolted Rajasthan two balls later to dismiss Kevon Cooper for a duck, with Bisla doing smart work the wickets. The 16th over of the innings proved to be successful for the Knight Riders as two wickets fell for only one run.
The defending champions KKR maintained the pressure over the Royals towards the end, with Jacques Kallis giving away only five runs in the 17th over.
But Rajasthan bounced back in the end to amass as many as 38 runs in the last three overs. While Hodge kept picking up boundaries easily, Dishant Yagnik slammed two boundaries and a six off Narine’s final over. Narine was Kolkata’s most successful bowler, taking two wickets for 28 from his four overs.
Shukla claimed one wicket for 14 off the two overs he bowled, while Bhatia and Lee claimed a wicket each.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 144 for 6 in 20 overs (Brad Hodge 46*, Ajinkya Rahane 36; Sunil Narine 2 for 28, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 1 for 14) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 125 all-out in 19 overs (Eoin Morgan 51; Kevon Cooper 3 for 15, Siddharth Trivedi 3 for 23, Rahul Shulka 2 for 28) by 19 runs.
Man of the Match: Siddharth Trivedi
(Devarchit Varma is a cricket fanatic who finds nothing more exciting to do than to write, watch or talk about the sport. Having played the game at club and college level, he now pursues his passion as a scribe)