Dinesh Karthik, IPL 2018, Kolkata Knight Riders
Dinesh Karthik posted another crucial fifty © IANS

For the umpteenth time this season, Dinesh Karthik produced another classic against the odds to help Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) post 169 for 7 in their 20 against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the IPL 2018 Eliminator. KKR were reeling at 24 for 3 in the fourth over when Karthik stepped out to bat. Andre Russell gave the innings the apt finish with a 25-ball 49, a knock laced with 5 monstrous sixes. But before that the Royals dominated the contest thanks to brilliant spells from Krishnappa Gowtham (3-0-15-2) and Jofra Archer (4-0-33-2).

Sent in to bat, KKR continued in a fashion almost similar to Sunrisers Hyderabad last night. Sunil Narine cut the first ball from Gowtham past cover for four and was stumped while stepping down the wicket off the next ball. In his next over Gowtham struck again, this time sending back Robin Uthappa.

Jofra Archer struck in the following over, getting Nitish Rana to play a false shot to mid-wicket. KKR were 24 for 3 inside 4 overs.

Karthik and Chris Lynn began the repair job. Jaydev Unadkat’s first over, the last of the Powerplay, went for 14. Karthik struck two glorious boundaries through off and Lynn finished the over with another. KKR managed 46 for 3 in the Powerplay overs before the leg-spinners came to the party.

Ish Sodhi’s first over cost just 2. At the other end, Shreyas Gopal struck with the final ball of his first over. Lynn’s nightmare against spinners continued as he misread a googly from Gopal, spooning a catch to the bowler.

Highlights, IPL 2018 Playoffs, KKR vs RR, Full Cricket Score and Updates, Eliminator at Kolkata: KKR win by 25 runs
Highlights, IPL 2018 Playoffs, KKR vs RR, Full Cricket Score and Updates, Eliminator at Kolkata: KKR win by 25 runs

Karthik found the right partner in young Shubhman Gill. The duo kept the scoreboard ticking with quick singles and twos, latching on to loose balls. Gill took on the attack to Gopal in the 14th over, playing a gorgeous cut to the ropes and followed it with a six over long-off. Karthik ended the over with a six to complete the fifty-run stand.

Gill cut Archer for four in the next over before perishing in an encore and edging. By then the duo had added 55 off 38 balls.

Russell joined Karthik and maintained the tempo. The 16th over, from Unadkat, leaked 19, including 2 sixes and a four. The first six got Karthik to his fifty.

Archer and Ben Laughlin, bowled the right lengths at the death but were overpowered by Russell’s strength. Karthik fell in the 18th over for 52 but Russell continued the charge. To RR’s relief, Javon Searles struggled to a 5-ball 2 at a stage when Russell seemed like hitting sixes at will. Meanwhile, Ajinkya Rahane did not bowl his best performer Gowtham his quota of 4 overs.

The news of AB de Villiers’ retirement ahead of this crucial fixture had taken the sheen off it. The cricket fraternity was engulfed in the shock when play got underway.

Brief scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders 169 for 7 in 20 overs [Dinesh Karthik 52 (38), Shubman Gill 28 (17), Andre Russell 49 (25); Krishnappa Gowtham 3-0-15-2, Jofra Archer 4-0-33-2] vs Rajasthan Royals.