Nitish Raina, Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2018
Nitish Rana (3rd from left) picked up the key wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and D’Arcy Short © AFP

Jos Buttler’s urgency at the wee end helped Rajasthan Royals (RR) to 160 for 8 in their 20 overs against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Match 15 of VIVO IPL 2018, at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. Buttler, batting inexplicably low down the order, remained unbeaten on 24 off 18 balls to ensure Royals reached a competitive total. Otherwise, the innings was completely dominated by KKR spinners — Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav and Nitish Rana.

Shivam Mavi bowled the final over and went for 9. He bowled 3 wides and ended up delivering 9 balls. However, he was unlucky to not get Dhawal Kulkarni off the first ball when Chris Lynn dropped a sitter at point. Kulkarni was run out in the penultimate ball of the innings in bid to let Buttler keep the strike.

KKR followed the tournament trend by electing to bowl. They were off to a good start. Chawla and Kuldeep, the wrist-spinners, started proceedings. RR managed just 9 runs off the first 3 overs. Sunil Narine was brought to bowl the fourth, and Rahane counterattacked, laying rest to the debate if he is the best person to open or not.

The platform was set by Rahane and D’Arcy Short on a slowish but good batting surface. The openers added 54 in 41 balls. Rahane moved his feet well to smack Narine for 4 back-to-back boundaries. In the next over, he charged Mavi over long-off for a six. RR’s counterattack saw them post 48 in Powerplay.

Dinesh Karthik gambled with Rana for the seventh over. Rana did not disappoint. In KKR’s first match this season, his part-time off-spin had got Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. This time Rahane was brilliantly stumped by Karthik himself, who swiftly back-flicked to have Rahane short of the crease. Rana came back in the 13th over to clean up a well-set Short.

Before that, the big setback for hosts was the wicket of the in-form Sanju Samson, who had just cut Mavi to the fence. Getting carried away, he short-arm jabbed to deep mid-wicket off the next ball.

Despite the starts, RR could not stitch partnerships. Short fell when he was looking to open up. Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, and K Gowtham suffered similar fates. Stokes was removed by Chawla.

Tom Curran bowled the penultimate over and sent back Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal in consecutive balls. Gopal played the wrong line to lose his stumps.

Narine, who conceded 4 fours off his first over, finished with 48 runs off his 4 overs, his most expensive IPL spell. His previous worst was 4-0-46-1 against Kings XI Punjab in 2014. He was the only spinner to miss the party.

Brief scores

Rajasthan Royals 160 for 8 in 20 overs [Ajinkya Rahane 36 (19), D'Arcy Short 44 (43); Nitish Rana 2-0-11-1, Tom Curran 2-0-19-2, Piyush Chawla 4-0-18-1, Kuldeep Yadav 4-0-23-1] vs Kolkata Knight Riders