IPL 2018: Kolkata Knight Riders knock Rajasthan Royals out, keep title hopes alive
Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders fought back in style against Rajasthan Royals to register a 25-run victory in the Indian Premier League Eliminator at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. Two-time champions KKR will now face 2016 winners Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second qualifier at the same venue on May 25 to fight for a place in the final. The winner of the Qualifier 2 will meet MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash on May 27.
Rajasthan were cruising in their run chase of 169 at one stage when Sanju Samson and captain Ajinkya Rahane were at the crease as the duo added 62 runs for the second wicket. But they completely messed up the chase when Rahane departed for 46. Samson followed him soon into the dressing room after scoring 50 off 38 balls.
That is when KKR tightened the noose around RR batsmen and eventually managed to restrict them to 144/4 in 20 overs thanks to some superb bowling in the final stages of the second innings.
Piyush Chawla was the star of the show with the ball for the Knight Riders finishing with 2 for 24 from 4 overs and was well aided by his spin-bowling partner Kuldeep Yadav who picked up 1 wicket and gave away just 18 runs in his spell. Fast bowler Prasidh Krishna was also at the top of his game once again with figures of 1 for 28 in 4 overs.
Rajasthan had entered the play-offs thanks to Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab’s loss in their respective final league games but their luck ultimately ran out in Kolkata and they crashed out.
Earlier, the Knight Riders KKR rode on skipper Dinesh Karthik’s well-paced fifty coupled with Andre Russell’s unbeaten 25-ball 49 blitz to recover from an early collapse and post 169/7 in 20 overs after being asked to bat first.
Russell came in to bat when KKR were trying to stem the rot through Karthik (52; 38b; 4×4 2×6) and Shubman Gill (28; 17b; 3×4 1×6) before the latter fell with the team on 106/5 in 14.2 overs.
The big-hitting West Indian smoked five sixes and three fours in the last five overs to take 55 runs and help the purple brigade post a challenging score.
Krishnappa Gowtham (2/15), Jofra Archer (2/33) and Ben Laughlin (2/35) got two wickets each for the Ajinkya Rahane-led side with leg-spinner Ish Sodhi conceding just 15 runs off his four overs.
Royals’ bowlers made early inroads to reduce KKR to 51/4 after eight overs when Karthik and Gill got together.
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