One night to remember for KKR: Kolkata finish fourth playoff spot with 86-run win over Rajasthan

The Kolkata Knight Riders are 171/4, the highest ever in the Indian Premier League this year, and the game is over no matter what team does in Sharjah. Rajasthan Royals, without inspiration, fighting and proper planning, were never good enough to crack 172 runs. So, KKR succeeded in consolidating their playoff chances. The Royals were all out for 85 in 16.1 overs and after an 86-run victory, KKR finished in the last four. The Royals lost faster than expected.

Conducted by KKR

The term has led to a huge emphasis on the KKR plan, led by Eoin Morgan, with team analyst Nathan Lyman at the forefront.

They had to win this game, otherwise the Mumbai Indians equation would have gone straight ahead – the Sunrisers beat Hyderabad and go to the knockouts. A few days ago, MI tied the Royals for 90 at this venue and when Morgan lost the toss on Thursday and was asked to bat first, it seemed like a tricky task. But the team organization shined.

Two openers, Subhooman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer, were briefly clear β€” do not mind starting a six-plus run-rate without losing the opening wickets. The two remained unbeaten until the 11th over, adding 79 for the opening wicket. Gill and Iyer aimed to hit loose balls with fours and sixes. Occasionally, even good balls are taken care of without risk. When Jayadev Unadkat bowled a cross seamer and pitched over the required six meters Sharjah length, Iyer stood tall and hit the visual screen. Playing directly on this pitch was crucial and Iyer’s upright attitude helped him generate energy.

On a rough surface, Gill is timing the ball well. Impatience has affected his shot selection this season. But today the opener showed excellent application. After Jayadev lost to Unadkat in the first ball of the match, Gill responded with a drive on mid-off for a four. Like Iyer, he also aimed a ‘V’ first for his runs. The ball was not coming into the bat, so the two openers came out of the crease to meet the ball. The way Gill used his feet and changed from Chetan Zakaria to a good delivery to hit a six was amazing.

Iyer led Unadkat with two sixes in the 10th over. Everything is going to be planned. When the batsman was out in the next over, the Royals captain Sanju Samson’s failure to make the right decision helped KKR to accelerate further.

Gill scored 56 off 44 balls. By then his team had removed the game from the opponents. Between 10 and 16 overs, KKR scored 66 to level the Royals.

Clinical bowling

Good length, cross-seam and straight-Sharjah pitch asked for this template. KKR bowlers are on the money. Shakib Al Hasan broke the successful Jaiswal defense in the first over and the second went for a reverse sweep. Shivam Mavi dismissed Samson in his first ball, put his fingers on the seam, hit the correct length and brought it into the batsman. Lucky Ferguson came in and broke the backbone of the Royals batting with two wickets in three deliveries. A small, rising ball for Liam Livingstone, Anuj Rawat caught straight in front of the leg. Livingstone, replaced by Jose Butler and beaten for pace alongside The Hundred’s hero, Rawat.

The placenta came back and made Glenn Phillips cross the outer edge of the bat and hit a step off-stump. This young fast bowler is back with his career-best IPL stats of 4/21. Ferguson scored 3/18.

Term sign off

The Royals lost their cricket royalties in the second leg of the tournament – Ben Stokes, Joffre Archer and Butler and did not show stomach for the fight. They also lost Evin Lewis against KVR and the majority of their batsmen could not learn from the mistakes they made against MI. Jaiswal tried to reverse sweep Shakib despite a similar shot causing Iyer to be out in the KKR innings. Samson tried to play the square off the wicket, a low percentage shot on this surface. Their bowlers are unstable, delivering wide and hitable balls every time.

Samson used Phillips of Spin against Nitish Rana to make decisions that were not right. Rana swallowed the bowling slowly and even though he was out to Phillips, 17 runs were scored in that over. The Royals captain also knocked down Rahul Tripathi at five off Mustafizur Rahman and gave up four byes when KKR innings back-end bowler Chris Morris deserved a better effort.

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