Kolkata v Rajasthan, IPL 2013, Kolkata May 3, 2013

Bowlers set up easy win for Knight Riders


Kolkata Knight Riders 133 for 2 (Yusuf 49*, Kallis 33) beat Rajasthan Royals 132 for 6 (Samson 40, Watson 35, Senanayake 2-26) by eight wickets
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kolkata Knight Riders used the comfort of their home territory to register only their fourth win in the competition, effortlessly beating Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets. Both teams had stuffed their teams with spinners as though it was a fifth day Kanpur pitch, but it was Knight Riders' spinners who strangled Royals' batsmen before Yusuf Pathan and Jacques Kallis pushed the team over the line with 16 balls to spare.

The victory has kept Knight Riders' chances of making it to the playoffs alive, but the task ahead remains extremely difficult; five wins in five matches required from here. Royals, on the other hand, maintained their hold on the third spot on the points table.

At the mid-innings break, Sanju Samson, the top scorer for Royals, had said that he was confident the 132-run total was defendable on a pitch that was slow and afforded turn to the spinners, but Royals' slow bowlers were not able to have the same impact as their counterparts from Knight Riders, with Brad Hogg guilty of dishing out plenty of full tosses. Manvinder Bisla and Gautam Gambhir raced away at the start, adding 41 runs in no time, the highlight of their stay not being the runs they scored, but Bisla's heated exchange with Rahul Dravid. Although both openers were dismissed within 10 balls of each other, Yusuf and Kallis quickly shot down any hopes that might have cropped up for Royals with some lusty hits. Yusuf remained unbeaten on 49, his best score for Knight Riders in his three-year long association with the team.

Royals have an untarnished home record this season, but they have been a shadow of themselves playing away. As they chose to bat, a heavy dose of spin was expected. But Gambhir made a surprise move, opening the bowling with medium pacer Sumit Narwal, but handed the ball to Sachithra Senanayake soon after. Senanayake extracted the juice that was available for the spinners and drew a mistake from Ajinkya Rahane. The batsman stretched out to play an inside out lofted drive, missed the ball as it turned sharply through the gap between bat and pad, and saw the keeper whipping the bails off.

Dravid tried to unsettle Knight Riders' plans by sending James Faulkner at No. 3, but the move yielded just one run. Sanju Samson, the impressive 18-year-old, joined Shane Watson and added 41 runs for the third wicket during which neither batsmen appeared in any trouble. The two picked up singles off the spinners for a couple of overs, before Samson unleashed a meaty punch through extra cover that oozed class off the second ball bowled by Jacques Kallis. He got more adventurous in the next over, smashing a short delivery by Iqbal Abdulla over cow corner, deep into the crowd.

Royals had patiently moved to 71 for 2 after 10 overs when Gambhir introduced Sunil Narine. The bowler's repertoire of variations was all thrown at Watson in the first over, and the batsman, struggling to pick the changes, bowed out of the battle after just five balls. Samson continued to dazzle and looked set for another half-century, but fell in the 18th over trying to clear the long-on boundary. He had a reprieve five balls before when Bisla, the wicketkeeper, got under a leading edge around cover point, but dropped the easiest of chances off Narine. Dravid held himself back till the end and came in at No. 8 to play just three balls, but none of the batsmen who came before him had much of an impact.

Royals' total proved too tiny to pose any problems for Knight Riders, who rounded off their final league match at Eden Gardens with a resounding victory.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    I hate KKR. the annoying duo of Gambhir and Bisla ate up RR's fairplay points. Before that game, RR were comfortably sitting on top of fairplay table. They indulged RR players into their theatrics and cost them fairplay points.

  • Devashish on May 4, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    A good win for KKR but I would suggest a change i.e., Bringing in Balaji in place of Narwal .... he is definitely a better bowler than Narwal and if u come down to Narwal saving the day as a batsman playing at No. 8, well u know u r probably going to lose nyways ... Bisla n Pathan both have been tried opposite GG as opening partners ... what I would like to see is Pathan n Bisla openning themselves with a straight swap between Pathan n GG, keeping Kallis at 3 (thats the only place he can bat) .... My XI :::: Pathan, Bisla, Kalliis, Gambhir, Morgan, Das, Bhatia, Senanayake, Narine, Balaji, Abdullah

  • Prashan on May 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @Narbavi, spot on! Dravid has given a fair chance to all overseas players so far. Too bad that Kushal Perera (KP) did not cash in on the opportunity. Unless Watson gets injured, KP will not get anymore chances during the 2013 IPL and fair enough.

  • ttn on May 4, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    @Narbavi:Looks like he can bat well then Yes he will be a good limited overs prospect like irfan pathan, tim bresnan. But you do realize their lots of pacers better than him getting no attention? Like Cutting,butterworth,sayyers..etc.

  • narbavi on May 4, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    @Tal_Botvinnik: but at the same time averages 34 with the bat in FC cricket, so signs of a good all rounder there and Dravid loves giving opportunities to everyone, 9 out of the 10 overseas players have got a game now, in all probability you will see the 10th one Fidel Edwards playing very soon

  • ttn on May 4, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    @Narbavi: Haven't seen anything exciting from Faulkner except he varies his pace: no swing, no reverse swing, no consistent line-and-length,and no extravagant pace. Looks like a good short-form baller to me like Nathan bracken or Clinton McKay. Believe it or not even bracks and mckay has excellent FC records before they failed in the test arena.

    Let me ask you again why in the world would bench Samuel Badree, t20 most economical baller ??? he would have loved a low and slow pitch.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    dear kevendeven,where did rohit sharma come from in this mess. dont compare rahane with rohit. rohit is class above him. And for ur info,he's d best in comparison 2 both kkr& rr line up.

  • narbavi on May 4, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    @Tal_Botvinnik: I said he can become an excellent test bowler since he has a good record in first class cricket, and your role as a t20 bowler is different to that of a test bowler, cooper had to bowl as he is in the side for his bowling alone, but like you said atleast in the other end one among watson or faulkner or chandila could have bowled

  • Ali on May 4, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    A bad day at the office for RR....all will be good very soon. As for KKR, they are already out of the tournament as a few more thrashings await them.

  • Binish on May 4, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    KKR mite have won d match but lost all respect, at least in my eyes. The way Bisla behaved was appalling. What is more disturbing is Gambhir's action, hu as a captain rather than diffusin the situation was adding fuel to the fire. If these ppl cud make Dravid loose his cool, today i feel very bad for Kohli. There again Gambhir was d culprit but Kohli bore d brunt of public's ire...