Royals v Knight Riders, IPL 2014, Ahmedabad May 5, 2014

Royals take 6 for 2 to steal game


Rajasthan Royals 170 for 6 (Nair 44, Narine 2-28) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 160 for 6 (Uthappa 65, Gambhir 54, Watson 3-21, Tambe 3-26) by 10 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Hattangadi: KKR confused, lack self-belief

Gautam Gambhir had hoped Kolkata Knight Riders had learned from conceding winning positions in multiple matches this season, but losing six wickets for two runs after 70% of the target of 171 had been mowed down by a century stand between himself and Robin Uthappa indicated there was still a lot of work left to do. Rajasthan Royals were the beneficiaries this time as they recorded their fourth victory in five IPL matches in Ahmedabad.

An equation of 50 from the final six overs is not cause for alarm and Knight Riders had all 10 wickets in hand, but the events that unfolded at Motera were almost unfathomable. Shane Watson pried out Gambhir to tip the dominoes. An inexplicable promotion for Andre Russell did not last long and before the over ended three wickets were down. Pravin Tambe claimed a hat-trick off the first three balls of the next over to complete the worst collapse for the first six wickets in T20 history.

Before those nightmarish few minutes, Uthappa had cemented the team's belief in him by melding stability and enterprise together. His fluency allowed Gambhir to work himself into form. Both batsmen embraced percentage cricket, concentrating on keeping a straight face coming down on the ball. Uthappa used his feet to bolster his hits through and over mid-on while Gambhir peppered the cover boundary. It wasn't the most eye-catching innings but it was what Knight Riders needed from their captain and victory seemed more probable than the eventual outcome.

Suryakumar Yadav and Shakib Al Hasan were suddenly faced with a required rate over 11 in the final four overs. They swung and swiped and even enjoyed a couple of free hits but they could not muster the necessary pace. Having drained the wind from Knight Riders' sails, Watson returned to bowl an intelligent final over to finish things off. This is the second time a week that Royals have stolen a match from under Knight Riders' noses. Gambhir's men couldn't overhaul an equation of 16 of 12 and lost after the match was pushed into a Super Over.

After Royals were sent in, Karun Nair and Ajinkya Rahane found little trouble dealing with the early overs. The pitch was marked with patches of grass but no matter how much the KKR bowlers willed it, their search for movement was in vain. A few easy flicks to the square boundary on the leg side kickstarted their half-century partnership that was eventually undone by a run out. Nair's season had begun with two single-figure scores and he had to overcome a sluggish beginning during his half-century against Delhi Daredevils. But once he did, he showcased some effective shots and today he seemed to pick up where he had left off. A second successive fifty wasn't on the cards, though.

Sanju Samson, at No.3, ensured there was no loss in momentum with some smart shots to drive Royals past their hundred. Watson's proclivity to hit straight down the ground hinted at a big total on the horizon. Knight Riders pulled things back in the last four overs but the 35 runs that the home side managed during that period proved more than enough.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on May 7, 2014, 1:45 GMT

    A hat trick is always special but how did Tambe get man of the match ahead of Watson? Watson had already done the main damage before Tambe came on to bowl by getting rid of the two set batsman. Not only did Watson finish with better figures than Tambe but he also scored 30-odd off 20. Scratching my head at that one.

  • jordan on May 6, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    KKR lacking good captaincy and team spirit. Players are playing individually not as a team. They need to concentrate on team achievement not on individual performance.

    I think kallis will be a good choice for captain. best XI and bating order in my opinion is 1.utthapa 2. Gambhir 3.Bisla 4.Pandey 5. Shakib 6. Kallis 7. suraya kumar 8.Narine 9.chawla 10.Vinay 11. morkel

  • Android on May 6, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    The mallu boys (Karun and sanju) are doing well for rr...and expected to continue there good form to upcoming matches

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    i like kkr's one thing in this match. they scored one boundary in each over from begening. nice strategy.. IF so. on average kkr will show boost up.. (For more inf. Dhoni's strategy i think - hitting 1 six in each over in last 5 overs)

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    KKR needs kallis/chris lynn, RN ten Doeschate, sakib and narine. Doeschate and Y pathan will be finisher at no 6 and 7. Order of batting- 1 utappa 2 gambhir 3 kallis/lynn 4 sakib. 5 Suryakumar Yadav/manish. Rest are 8 Vinay 9 Umesh Yadav 10 narine 11 Piyush Chawla . just keep playing 3-4 matches i think kkr will show boost up...

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    It is ripe time to rethink about batting line up!!!!!!!!

  • Cricinfouser on May 6, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    Just love the die hard attitude of RR!! Seriously, what's wrong with KKR? Or, for now, what's right with KKR?

    Their captain scores a duck, they win. He scores well, they implode. Mindless batting. Shakib should be tried at no.3 if they want to win atleast a few games. Doeschate must also come in earlier.

  • Rashedur on May 6, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Shakib in IPL 7 for KKR SR-142 (top), Avg-40.5 (2nd), Econ-6.68 (2nd), Bow Avg-25.4 (3rd) Fantasy Cricket Point-186 (2nd) I think his batting was not up to the mark though. One of the reasons may be he is not sure about his place in the side and his role as a batsman in KKR. He is not sort of big scoring or anchoring batsman but he can play little cameo (vs Pakistan in Asia cup) as well as in pressure situations (IPL 5 final). KKR should use him as well as other overseas like Lynn, Tendo, Cummins/Morkel properly. The way KKR uses its player may be everybody except Gambhir & Yousuf feels the uncertainty.

  • Ramya on May 6, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    Too much of chopping and changing aint doing any good for KKR! - What is Russel doing in the team?! They won two matches bcoz of Kallis and Lynn - and decide to drop them! They change the dropping order eh er.. sorry batting order to suit their whims and fancies!

    Who is making decisions in KKR?! Shakib & Tendo are both similar kind of hitters - why are they both coming together? Tendo has been a good T20 bat and he shud have been at No.3!

    KKR is very poor with their man mangement - pl learn from the folks of RR and CSK where even the ones who are not so much in form are allowed to prosper - the team management has to ensure tht the players are comfortable and are given full freedom to express themselves!

    For those who are jumping at Yadav, well if not for Yadav KKR wud have messed up their batting so bad tht they never wud have come close to winning in the previous encounters! One bad match and evryone wants to jump on the young man!!! RR bowled well - all credit to them!

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    It Seems to me Yousuf pathan is out of form,had s.yadev have been promoted no.4 the situation would have been different,after giving better start by the openers the rest could not negociate the bowling attack of rajasthan,Utappa should have played more overs to win the game,hope the management will reshufflel the team and get good result for the future games,good luck to KKR,

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