A superb team bowling performance from the Rajasthan Royals orchestrated a 22-run victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders in Jaipur on Sunday
It was the Knight Riders who won the toss and elected to field, but their pursuit of Rajasthan’s 164 for five never gathered momentum as they found themselves reduced to eight for three in the third over. With big guns Jacques Kallis, Brendon McCullum and Gautam Gambhir all back in the hut early, it was left to Manoj Tiwary to try and get things back on track.
The young Indian all-rounder hit a valiant 59 off 49 balls, but he fought a lone battle as Ankeet Chavan, Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi each bagged two wickets for the Royals.
With the run-rate getting out of hand, the highly-favoured Kolkata team required a massive 53 runs for victory off the final three overs. Brett Lee provided some hope by smashing Singh for 19 runs off the 18th over, but that’s where the hope ended.
After impressing in his IPL debut on Friday, West Indian Kevon Cooper came on to bowl the penultimate over and bagged two wickets with successive balls to add to his earlier scalp of Debabrata Das. Cooper accounted for Lee and West Indies compatriot Sunil Narine with successive balls, but Iqbal Abdullah manfully defended the hat-trick ball.
As the Knight Riders needed 31 off the final over, Johan Botha was handed the ball and the South African off-spinner defended the total as he bowled Tiwary with the final ball of the match despite being hit for successive fours earlier in the over.
Earlier, Rajasthan got off to a shaky start as Ajinkya Rahane was run out without scoring. Rahul Dravid (26) and wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami (23) added 43 for the second wicket, but fell in close succession.
A valuable contribution of 40 from 30 balls by Ashok Menaria provided some impetus to the Royals innings, but veteran Australian Brad Hodge made the total a respectable one with his knock of 44 off 29 balls, while Englishman Owais Shah chipped in with a handy 23 off 11 balls to get the team to 164 for five.