The Knight Riders lost their last game in heroic fashion. It left Andre Russell "heartbroken" but the worst of the impact may have been on Eoin Morgan who, even as early as the presentation that night, was wondering what might have been.
Nitish Rana once scored an IPL fifty without the help of a single four. He didn't need them. He just kept clearing the boundary. Here, he looked shackled. Here, he was caught behind for 22 off 25 with one measly four and one measly six.
Twenty-five for one in the powerplay. Sixty-one for four just past the halfway mark. When a batting team falls so far behind the rate, they start to hit out at everything. The Royals understood that and put all of their effort into taking the pace off, while also digging it into the pitch. Mustafizur Rahman (1 for 22), Chetan Sakariya (1 for 31) and Jaydev Unadkat (1 for 25) were especially useful in this regard, posing problems even for a hitter like Andre Russell because they took away his base and therefore his power.
Knowing it was only a matter of lasting the full 20 overs, the Royals captain Samson (42* off 41) took the responsibility upon himself and made sure he was out there when the winning runs were scored. The innings began with a flowing cover drive against Varun Chakravarthy's mystery spin and included a vicious six off Pat Cummins' pace, but for the most part, Samson was focused on just being at the crease, ticking the singles over so that he could, with as little risk as possible, push his often fragile team across that finish line.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo