Kolkata decimate Rajasthan to all but qualify for playoffs

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safari
07 Oct 2021 | 06:01 PM
authorcricket.com staff

Kolkata decimate Rajasthan to all but qualify for playoffs

Mumbai will have to win their last game by around 171 runs after scoring 200 to get past KKR's NRR

Kolkata Knight Riders thumped Rajasthan Royals by 86 runs in their final league game of the Indian Premier League 2021 and are all but through to the playoffs. The Eoin Morgan-led side came into this game needing a win and have now almost confirmed their spot in the playoffs with a massive win. 

Punjab Kings and Rajasthan are now officially out of the tournament, while Mumbai Indians will need a miracle against Sunrisers Hyderabad if they want to make it through to the playoffs. Rohit Sharma and Co. (-0.048) will have to win by around 171 runs after scoring 200 to get past Kolkata's NRR (+0.587). And, if they chase, they can't go beyond KKR's NRR.

Asked to bat, Kolkata only managed 55 runs in the first nine overs before shifting gears in the final 11. The two-time champions smashed 116 runs in the last 11 overs and finished with a formidable total of 171/4 in 20 overs - the highest total registered in Sharjah this season - on a two-paced surface. Shivam Mavi (4/21) and Lockie Ferguson (3/18) then wreaked havoc in the second innings and bundled Rajasthan out for mere 85 runs in 16.1 overs.

Earlier, Shubman Gill (56 off 44) and Venkatesh Iyer (38 off 35) got KKR's innings to a rollicking start, stitching 79 runs for the opening stand. Rahul Tripathi (21), Dinesh Karthik (14* off 11) and skipper Eoin Morgan (13* off 11) also played good hands towards the end to take Kolkata past the 170-run mark.

Riding on Gill and Iyer's impressive start, the Knight Riders reached 50 in the eighth over. Iyer didn't curb his natural instinct and first clobbered Jaydev Unadkat over the deep midwicket boundary and then one straight over the bowlers' head two balls later to accumulate 14 runs off the 10th over as KKR reached 69 for no loss at the halfway mark.

Inspired by Iyer's power-hitting, Gill too joined the party and welcomed Rahul Tewatia with a maximum. But Tewatia had the last laugh as he gave his side the important breakthrough when he went through the defence of Iyer between his legs as the left-hander went for an extravagant reverse sweep.

RR skipper then introduced Glenn Phillips into the attack but the part-time offspinner went for 17 runs, albeit he picked up the wicket of Nitish Rana in the process. Tripathi was lucky to get a reprieve as he was dropped by Samson when he outside edged a full delivery off Mustafizur Rahman in the last ball of the 13th over.

Tripathi cashed in on the chance and struck Shivam Dube for back-to-back boundaries in the next over. Nitish Rana played a 5-ball 12-run cameo before Karthik and Morgan joined hands to end KKR's innings on a high. Considering the surface, Kolkata managed to put enough runs on the board, but even they wouldn't have expected their bowlers to completely decimate Rajasthan in the second innings.

In response, Rajasthan lost their in-form batters - Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson - inside seven deliveries and could never recover from that. The Royals kept losing wickets at regular intervals and Shivam Dube (20-ball 18) and Tewatia (36-ball 44) were the only two batters to get into double digits. 

Back into the side after recovering from an injury, Ferguson struck twice in his first over - first removing Liam Livingstone and then accounting for young Anuj Rawat a ball later. Mavi then struck twice in the eighth over - disturbing the timbers of Glenn Phillips and Dube with his brute pace. Varun Chakravarthy was not to be left behind as he joined the party in the next over dismissing Chris Morris LBW.

Rajasthan were reduced to 32/7 at one stage and it looked like they would end up breaking Royal Challengers Bangalore’s record of lowest total registered in the history of IPL - 49 - but Tewatia saved them from the embarrassment. The left-hander smashed five fours and two maximums during his stay in the middle before getting knocked over by Mavi in the 17th over.

Unless Mumbai and Bangalore pull off something out of this world in their respective last league encounters, Kolkata will most likely take on RCB in the Eliminator in Sharjah on Monday.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Indian Premier League, 2021Kolkata Knight RidersRajasthan RoyalsRahul TewatiaShubman GillShivam MaviLockie Ferguson

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