Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan (68 not out off 35 balls) led from the front as his side defeated Rajasthan Royals by 60 runs in their last league game in Dubai on Sunday to knock them out of the IPL 2020 and keep themselves alive in the playoff race. Another star of KKR’s massive win was fats bowler Pat Cummins, after conceding 19 runs in his first over, came back strongly and handed Rajasthan three huge blows removing their top-three Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, and Steve Smith inside the Powerplay, something from which they failed to bounce back. Rajasthan Royals, who came into this game on the back of two massive wins while chasing, failed to deliver under pressure with their season on the line.
Chasing a huge total of 192, Rajasthan Royals openers Uthappa and Stokes started with great intent as they collected 19 runs in the first over. Uthappa, who began his innings with a six off the first ball over deep square leg, got out on the last ball of the same over. Stokes’ short stay at the crease came to an end after Dinesh Karthik pulled off a one-handed screamer behind the stumps in the third over.
The departure of English all-rounder led to a flurry of wickets as Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, and Riyan Parag all got out in quick succession inside the first six overs. Before the field restrictions could be lifted half of Rajasthan’s batting line-up was already back in the hut.
Jos Buttler (35 off 22 balls), Rahul Tewatia (31 off 27 balls), and Shreyas Gopal (23 not out) tried their best but it was far too much for them as they ended their campaign with a massive 60-run loss.
Pat Cummins, the most experienced bowler in the KKR attack, led the way as he picked up four wickets for 34 runs from his four overs. Shivam Mavi and Varun Chakravarthy both bowled economically and returned with two wickets apiece, while Kamlesh Nagarkoti took 1/24.
Earlier, Eoin Morgan’s quick-fire fifty helped KKR post a huge total in the first innings. Shubman Gill batted with a little more intent and scored 36 off 24 balls after losing his opening partner Nitish Rana for a duck. He combined with Rahul Tripathi to add 72 runs for the second wicket.
Rajasthan Royals bowlers pulled things in the middle overs, picking wickets at regular intervals. From 73/1, they were reduced to 99/5, with Rahul Tewatia dismissing Sunil Narine and Dinesh Karthik and in the one over.
Andre Russell, who was given a chance despite not being his 100 percent, showed some early glimpses, smashing three sixes and a four in his 11-ball 25. He put pressure on Kartik Tyagi by smashing him for back-to-back sixes but the young fast bowler came back strongly to get him caught at the fence on the offside.
The highlight of KKR’s batting was their skipper Eoin Morgan who smashed 11 boundaries, including six hits over the fence during his blistering knock. Pat Cummins also made some useful contributions with the bat, scoring 15 off 11 balls as KKR finished at 191/7 from 20 overs.
Rahul Tewatia was Rajasthan’s most impressive bowler on the night and he returned with three wickets for 25 runs. Karthik Tyagi picked two wickets while Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal got a wicket each.
Despite a huge win, Morgan and his side will have to depend on the results of other matches to know if they would qualify for the playoffs or not as their winning margin was less than 79 runs.
With this loss, Rajasthan Royals were knocked out of the tournament while KKR’s chances are dependent on outcomes of two other league games.