Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2015, Bangalore May 16, 2015

Royals through; Knight Riders all but out

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Rajasthan Royals 199 for 6 (Watson 104*, Russell 3-32) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 190 for 9 (Pathan 44, Morris 4-23) by nine runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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O'Brien: Very strange bowling plan from Royals

Despite producing a gaffe-ridden performance, Rajasthan Royals managed to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by nine runs and booked their spot in the playoffs. Knight Riders are all but out of contention.

Chasing 200, Knight Riders needed 16 off the last over bowled by Chris Morris, but despite Umesh Yadav smashing an unbeaten 24 off 11 balls deep in the innings, they fell short. There were substantial cameos from Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell, but Royals' seamers, led by Chris Morris, derailed their chase with wickets at critical junctures.

Royals' victory, though, was set up by Shane Watson's unbeaten 104 off 59 balls, his second century in Twenty20 cricket.

Knight Riders had a wobbly beginning, losing openers Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa inside the first three overs. But after a disciplined beginning, Royals' seamers lost their bearings, registering the second most number of wides (18) in any IPL game.

Pathan and Manish Pandey revived the innings with a 56-run stand, and after the latter departed, Pathan and Russell continued to target some patchy bowling. But, Morris' dismissals of Russell and Suryakumar Yadav in the 14th over altered the course of the game.

Knight Riders, though, weren't down for the count yet, with their long batting line-up chipping in handy hits to reduce the margin. That the Royals bowling was erratic only contributed to their resurgence.

With 36 required off 12 balls, Umesh threatened to snatch the game back by carting James Faulkner for 20 runs. Morris, however, dismissed Shakib Al Hasan off the first ball of the last over, and effectively killed off Knight Riders' chase.

When they opted to bat, Royals might have anticipated such a riposte from the opposition batsmen, having had an easy initiation into their innings themselves. Ajinkya Rahane and Watson delighted in whipping the ball through the off side off either foot. While Watson got into his low set-up to clatter drives through the cover, Rahane cracked a flat six over point. Together they went about knocking down a few records.

Even as Rahane and Watson completed 3000 and 4000 runs respectively in T20 cricket, Royals zoomed to 66 in six overs, their highest score in the Powerplay this IPL. Some of the momentum was curtailed after Rahane was run-out after Watson bailed on a tight second run. Royals, nevertheless, reached their 100 inside 10 overs for the first time this season. Their innings suffered a middle-overs blip with Russell sending back Steven Smith, Sanju Samson and James Faulkner in the space of four overs. Watson, though, was unaffected by the goings on, and progressively got better.

He kept hitting straight, not losing his shape all along. Azhar Mahmood came in for a lot of punishment, conceding 41 runs in three overs while Umesh, Morne Morkel and Shakib went for more than nine runs an over.

Both teams made a few strange selections with Knight Riders replacing Sunil Narine with Mahmood for his first game in IPL 2015. Royals, for their part, chose to play debutant left-arm seamer Brainder Sran, while omitting Rajat Bhatia and Pravin Tambe. The lack of variety in their attack, with no spinner, nearly cost them, but they clung on when it mattered the most.

Arun Venugopal is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hussain on May 19, 2015, 13:23 GMT

    Now both RCB and Royals should play and win 2 matches to reach the final. They should win the Eliminator in between first to play the qualifier with the loser of the first qualifier. The winner of the first qualifier will go straight to the final. Let us wait and see who will be the winner today to play the final.

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2015, 13:42 GMT

    Dravid and his boys deserved to be in the playoffs. Every player wants to win it for Dravid and it is a travesty of justice that this wonderful captain could not hold on to Indian captaincy for long. You beauty Dravid, you deserve every bit of glory.

  • roket on May 18, 2015, 13:25 GMT

    @VKUMAR_086: "Shakib is playing for KKR since from 4 years, what he has done , when he won the matches for KKR, he is neither good with bat nor with ball" ummm, sorry, what? In 2014 when KKR was the champ, Shakib Scored 227 runs at 32.4 Avg, and almost 150 SR. Shakib was the 5th highest run scorer for KKR, and had the second highest strike rate in KKR (anyone who scored over 100 runs), his strike rate in 2014 was much higher than Utthapa, and Gambhir. He also took 11 wickets, with 6.7 econ rate in 13 matches. Shakib was the 4th highest wicket taker in KKR, and second only to Narine in Econ rate. Shakib was instrumental in KKR winning the championship last season for KKR. Are you even watching the games?

  • Hussain on May 18, 2015, 12:54 GMT

    @Junaid Ansari "RCB made 200 starc in the team is impossible to chase down 200". Starc has got only 4 overs and RR has got 14 overs which are being bowled by other bowlers and Starc has got high economy in many of the RCB matches. You cannot predict results like that.

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2015, 9:29 GMT

    KKR made the mistake of sending Andre Russel to bat too early. Shakib should have been sent at 4 or 5 and could have stabilized the innings. Russel could always have taken a go down at 6 or 7 like he did. KKRs lack of specialist batsman and over reliance on allrounders also hurt them. Using Azhar Mahmood i such a crucial match was a mistake. Instead Brad Hogg, Narine or any local pacer (who played some matches) could have been used. If you take a look at Shakibs T20I batting career he has been successful at 3 since he gets a bit of time to take a look at the ball and then blast away later. Either Gambhir or Pathan needed to stay till the end

  • Junaid Ansari on May 18, 2015, 7:24 GMT

    some people saying wining their last league of match is important true, but If you win more in up front is also help to qualify for play off because you have to win less in latter stage, look at RR last 9 matches they won two matches, and two matches abonded due to rain, I think RR is lucky that they got one one point in those two abonded match, because I sure they loose that two match, one in Kolkata, in Kolkata KKR never loose and bonglore match, RCB made 200 starc in the team is impossible to chase down 200, and those two point save RR to play play off. best of luck to RR in play off. Halla boll

  • TANMOY on May 18, 2015, 7:07 GMT

    It looked like both the team this match wanted to loose rather winning, although the Team score was heavy. Firstly KKR, dropping Narine, and giving first over to Azhar Mhamood, was an indication of no interest to Win. Then giving so many scoring deliveries to RR , is just not good enough to prove your attacking instents. Secondly, RR while defending the total, was also mysteriously giving all extra runs and only helping KKR to win the match as it looked like by taking off teh pressure from new batsmen after a wicket fall.

    If umesh can Strike for 20( no 10 player ) runs in 11 balls, and 26 runs given as extra, you just got to think, a team badly wants to Loose the Match, Kudos to KKR, they didn't let this happen, KKR is benifited some extra rest. I see this match in this way !!! LOL !!!

  • Anurag Agarwal on May 17, 2015, 17:55 GMT

    KKR is the most ugly looking team of IPL and there is no charm and exuberance.. Looks like spin heavy SL team which does not know how to win outside of thier yard.. Pathetic.. No entertainment.. No fun. Next year they should finish at the bottom.

  • Zam on May 17, 2015, 12:19 GMT

    Last two matches the KKR team, was off balance. It shouldn't have inducted players right at the business end of the event. I had made the comment before the Mumbai match that its spin bowling was good and it only needed to beef up its batting. More so when both matches were to be played on batting tracks. They could have utlized Shakib better when they had qualified and come back to Kolkota and used a higher strike rate batsman in his place. Their spin bowling didn't need tinkering at all.

  • TANMOY on May 17, 2015, 10:59 GMT

    KKR still has statistical Chance .

    If the Match between Mumbai and Sunrisers gets washed out, then on netrun rate , KKR with all in 15 points reach semis.

    Rain God , Please show some Karisma Now...

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