In the 43rd match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 extravaganza, Rajasthan Royals (RR) registered a spectacular three-wicket victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. In the first innings, KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik stole the show with his scintillating knock to power his team towards a pretty challenging first innings total. In reply, the visitors got off to an explosive start, but the KKR spinners pulled things back very efficiently.
However, towards the end, RR’s young duo of Riyan Parag and Jofra Archer batted amazingly well to snatch an unbelievable victory from almost the jaws of defeat. With this win, the Royals have also managed to retain its playoffs hopes as well.
Karthik’s superlative knock takes KKR to 175
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, KKR got off to a disappointing start with the in-form opener Chris Lynn getting dismissed in the very first over without even troubling the scorers. RR new ball bowler Varun Aaron delivered a fierce opening spell clocking around the 150-kmph mark consistently, removing first Lynn and the other opener, Shubman Gill as well in the 5th over. The KKR batters, Nitish Rana and Sunil Narine also failed to convert their respective starts into big scores, leaving KKR in a reeling position at 80 for 4.
After those quick wickets, KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik, who has been struggling with form this season, took the onus on himself and led the team from the front, smashing RR bowlers all over the park. Karthik compiled a staggering unbeaten knock of 97 runs off just 50 balls which consisted of 9 humongous sixes and 7 fours, to propel his team to an imposing total of 175 runs. For RR, Varun Aaron was the pick of the bowlers, claiming two crucial wickets at an impressive economy rate of just 5.
Parag and Archer ooze out the pressure
Chasing a stiff target of 176 runs, the two RR openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson kicked off things in a blazing manner, smacking 30 runs in the first three overs. Within absolutely no time, the duo brought up half-century opening stand in the fifth over to provide a solid platform at the top. The KKR spin bowling pair of Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla then helped their team stage a definite comeback, removing both the RR openers with 57 runs on the board in 6.3 overs.
Narine and Chawla never backed down after those two wickets and then also dismissed the likes of Steve Smith and Ben Stokes as well. The game got really tensed in the final few overs with the momentum changing ends quite frequently. With 31 runs required off the last three overs, Riyan Parag and Jofra Archer combined a vital partnership of 44 runs to help their team reach the outdoors of the finishing line. Archer then showed nerves of steel, blasting Prasidh Krishna a couple of brilliant lusty blows off the first two balls in the final over to help RR pick up a splendid victory.
KKR: 175/6 in 20 overs (Dinesh Karthik-97*, Nitish Rana-21; Varun Aaron 2/20)
RR: 177/7 in 19.2 overs (Riyan Parag-47, Ajinkya Rahane-34; Piyush Chawla 3/20)
Result: Rajasthan Royals won the match by 3 wickets.