IPL 2018: Match 49, KKR vs RR- Rating of the Match

The Knight Riders stay on the third position of the league table.

Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine of Kolkata Knight Riders in action. (Photo by Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

The Rajasthan Royals (RR) won their last two matches courtesy of Jos Buttler’s knocks that single-handedly took them over the line. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) were well and truly aware of the record. Moreover, the Knights have won 23 out of their 28 matches chasing a target at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Dinesh Karthik’s decision to field first didn’t spring a surprise bearing in mind the records and statistics.

In their last match at the venue, Ishan Kishan and the Mumbai Indians (MI) ripped apart KKR’s heart. Rahul Tripathi and Jos Buttler looked in that exact mood. Shivam Mavi gave a couple of runs in his opening over. However, the ghost of Shreyas Iyer came back to haunt him as Buttler tonked 28 runs (the exact number runs scored Iyer scored against Mavi in New Delhi) and RR had 59 runs on the board after four overs.

Kuldeep strikes form  

RR looked good to breach the 200-run mark, which didn’t seem like a tumultuous task when Tripathi and Buttler were going their merry way. Karthik’s men seemed helpless and stared down the barrel inside the powerplay. They were in dire requisite of some inspiration to boost their confidence. It came in the form of Andre Russell’s bouncer which accounted for Tripathi’s wicket.

Kuldeep Yadav, thus far, conceded close to nine runs per over and picked up only nine wickets, which isn’t a promising stat to start with. Ajinkya Rahane creamed his first delivery with a sweep. The next was a brain-fade moment for the Rajasthan skipper. He went for a ‘forgettable’ reverse-sweep and Kuldeep’s wrong’un rattled his woodwork.

Buttler tried the same stroke in Yadav’s next over and he connected, but the ball took a top edge off the splice of his willow and traced into the palms of Javon Searles at short third-man. The googly fetched Yadav his third wicket as Stuart Binny played all over it. To Binny’s distress, he dragged his right foot outside the popping crease and Karthik smashed the bails to cut short his stay.

Ben Stokes, who was playing his final match of the tournament owing to national duties, couldn’t decipher Kuldeep’s guile and presented a simple caught and bowled chance to Yadav. From 63/0 in 4.4 overs, the visiting team lost five wickets for 33 runs in a space of 38 balls and were reduced to 96/5 in 11.1 overs. Meanwhile, their run rate bombed down from 13.5 to 8.60.

Narine blitz sets the tone

The target of 143 wasn’t a menacing for KKR’s power-packed lineup. However, in order to strengthen their chances of moving to the playoffs, they needed to get their Net Run Rate that was dashed by the Mumbai Indians (MI) the other night in place. Their NRR was -0.189 prior to the match and it escalated to -0.091, which didn’t increase much despite their victory by 6 wickets with a couple of overs to spare.

The required rate was 7.15 at the start of the run-chase and after four balls it came down to 6.36. Krishnappa Gowtham has been impressive inside the field restrictions, but this time, Narine laid into him and smacked him for 21 runs in the first over. The Trinidadian peppered the leg side boundary and scored 21 off five balls.

In the next over, he played a dot ball off Ben Stokes after which he mistimed a pull shot and the leather traced into Gowtham’s hands who pumped his fist, more in revenge than in ecstasy. Thereafter, it was a doddle for the Knights. Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana couldn’t survive long, but Dinesh Karthik and Chris Lynn churned out singles and doubles as well as the occasional boundary, to win the game for KKR.

Rating of the Match- 4