Sharjah: Strong performances with the bat and ball helped Kolkata Knight Riders deliver a crushing 86-run win over Rajasthan Royals in Match 54 of IPL 2021 here on Thursday. After scoring 171/4 in 20 overs, Kolkata applied pressure right from the start which resulted in Rajasthan crashing to 86 all out in 16.1 overs.
With this win, Kolkata have almost confirmed the last remaining spot for the playoffs. Apart from delivering the knockout punch to Rajasthan, Punjab Kings have been officially ousted from the tournament while Mumbai Indians’ chances are now left hanging by a very slim thread. There was nothing royal about Rajasthan, who fell like ninepins in their last league match of the tournament.
They were reduced to 17/4 in power-play as Kolkata effectively broke the back of the chase. Shakib Al Hasan struck on the third ball of the innings as Yashasvi Jaiswal went for a reverse sweep but missed it and was bowled. In the next over, Sanju Samson clipped Shivam Mavi’s first ball to mid-wicket. Lockie Ferguson’s double strike in the fourth over left Rajasthan in deep shambles.
Liam Livingstone top-edged a pull off a short ball to deep square leg. Two balls later, Anuj Rawat was beaten for pace and trapped plumb in front of the stumps. Glenn Phillips and Shivam Dube struck a six each off Sunil Narine. But in the next over, Phillips was hurried for pace and bowled by a straight delivery from Mavi. Three balls later, Mavi went past Dube’s attempted flick to hit the stumps. From there, it was a free fall for Rajasthan.
Rahul Tewatia’s three boundaries off Mavi in the tenth over helped Rajasthan avoid the ignominy of lowest-ever total in the IPL. The all-rounder continued to wage the lone battle, hitting boundaries against Chakravarthy, Ferguson and Narine despite running out of partners from the other end. Mavi put an end to Rajasthan’s misery as Tewatia bottom edged to his stumps, giving the right-arm pacer his fourth wicket of the match.
Earlier, Kolkata started slow but ended up registering the highest score at Sharjah in the tournament, thanks to Shubman Gill stylish 56. Kolkata had a sedate start with 34/0 in power-play, including four boundaries. Post that, Venkatesh Iyer hit Jaydev Unadkat for a four through short third man followed by sixes down the ground and over long-on.
Tewatia broke the 79-run opening stand in the 11th over as Iyer missed a straight delivery and was bowled through his legs. Nitish Rana welcomed Phillips with a four and six in the next over. But Phillips had the last laugh on the fifth ball as Rana was caught off the toe-end at long-off.
Rahul Tripathi tore into Dube, taking back-to-back boundaries in the 14th over. Amidst all this, Gill held one end while finding boundaries in between. Gill brought up his fifty with a boundary off Chetan Sakariya in the 15th over, his second of the season. Gill whipped Chris Morris for a boundary in the next over.
But a wide later, Gill mistimed a loft to cover, giving Morris his first wicket of the UAE leg. Sakariya returned in the 18th over to disturb a sweeping Tripathi’s stumps. Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan landed some lusty blows in the last few overs to take Kolkata to a total which was more than enough to seal their fifth win in the UAE leg of the tournament.