Rajasthan Royals’ clever bowling, aided by tight fielding, led to a six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.
Electing to bowl, the Royals restricted the Knight Riders to 133/9.
Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, the Royals chased down the modest target comfortably; courtesy, the collective hitting upfront by Yashasvi Jaiswal (22), Sanju Samson (42 not out off 41) and Shivam Dube (22).
RR vs KKR Highlights
Jos Buttler (5) lost his way after a Pat Cummins bullet hit the grille of his helmet. Dazed and confused, the Englishman was trapped in front of his stumps by specialist spin bowler Varun Chakravarthy.
After five flamboyant fours, Jaiswal’s adrenaline got the better of him as he attempted a drive off a Shivam Mavi delivery to find substitute fielder Kamlesh Nagarkoti at deep cover. But skipper Samson set a tent in the middle, picking up the required boundaries and rotating the strike. He added 34 runs for the sixth wicket with David Miller (24 not out off 23) and hit the winning runs.
Chakravarthy returned the best bowler (2/32) for the Knight Riders after bamboozling Dube, but his effort was not enough as the Samson-Miller partnership closed out the win.
Earlier, the Knight Riders had a conservative approach on a decent batting track. Openers Shubman Gill (11) and Nitish Rana (22) struggled to negate the slowers and cutters of the left-arm seamers — Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya and Mustafizur Rahman.
They could hit only two boundaries in the Powerplay, finishing at 25/1. Rana’s effort to unsettle the bowlers’ length by shuffling across the crease brought up the first boundary, while Gill picked up a fuller delivery from Mustafizur to bring up the second over mid-wicket.
Soon after being dropped by Jaiswal on 6, Gill threw his wicket away while trying to steal a cheeky single. Buttler’s under-arm throw hit the stumps before he could make ground.
Before Rana could explode, Sakariya forced him to edge a short ball outside off to Samson behind the stumps.
The pressure aggravated when Rahul Tripathi (36 off 26) and skipper Eoin Morgan had a communication gap over a quick single, leading to the skipper’s dismissal without facing a ball.
Tripathi and Dinesh Karthik’s 33-run stand for the fifth wicket looked promising before the former fell to a Mustafizur off-cutter while attempting a slog sweep.
Big ticket player Chris Morris rose to the matchup against Andre Russell (9) by picking him for the fourth time in T20 cricket. Two balls later, he sent Karthik back with Sakariya taking a blinder at extra cover. He picked two more in his final over to finish with a four-wicket haul.
Morgan will need to go back to the drawing board to prepare a roadmap before taking on Punjab Kings, while the Royals can sit back and relish the four-day break, looking at Riyan Parag’s selfie celebrations on loop.