Allround-KKR Demolish RR To Take First Place, The > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - All-round KKR demolish RR to take top spot
Kolkata Knight Riders served up a clinic in all-round performance as they walloped Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets to climb to the top of the table.
Opting to bowl first on a pitch that played slow to start with, Kolkata bowled superbly to restrict RR to 139/3. Despite getting only three wickets, KKR made good use of the slowness of the pitch to not give the home side any freebies. Steve Smith top scored for RR with 73, in an innings where no one managed to score at more than 124 per 100 balls.
In reply, Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn went berserk, knocking off nearly half the runs in the powerplay itself to blow away RR's chances. Narine made 47, while Lynn brought his fifty to help the visitors canter home in the 14th over, giving themselves a massive NRR boost.
A tale of two powerplays
Just like in the Charles Dickens novel, but that famous introduction needs a small tweak. The worst of times came first, in Rajasthan Royals' innings.
Ajinkya Rahane managed a four in the first over, bowled by Piyush Chawla, but was out LBW off the first ball to give Kolkata Knight Riders a neat start. Narine and Chawla then combined to tie Jos Buttler and Steve Smith up for the rest of the powerplay. The powerplay saw the Royals play out 20 dot deliveries, apart from the wicket of Rahane, as they trudged to a sub-par 28/1 - their lowest powerplay score this IPL. That lack of momentum continued to trouble RR throughout their innings.
For KKR, the powerplay could not have been more in contrast. It was the kind of start befitting the Dickens novel comparison. Rahane made the caridnal sin of letting Narine face a spinner up front, and the West Indian needed no second invitation to take on K Gowtham. Four fours and a six later, KKR had already brought their required run rate to six.
The flurry of boundaries came in soon after. Lynn smashed Jofra Archer over long on to bring up the team 50 off the 25th ball. Luck played its part too. Narine was dropped by Rahul Tripathi on 23, while Lynn should have been bowled by Dhawal Kulkarni, but the bails refused to come off. KKR finished with 65 in their powerplay, and at that point, the match looked done with as a contest.
To some extent. Or maybe it was just how the players performed. Rajasthan Royals, throughout their innings, looked like they were up against a pitch that refused to help the ball go along nicely. Jos Buttler managed 37 off 34. Smith took the same path for the majority of his innings, but managed to break free in the death to end up with 73 off 59 balls. Rahul Tripathi managed 6 off 8, which was still better than Ben Stokes's 14-ball 7.
KKR used their bowlers well, with the spinners playing the choking role to perfection, while Prasidh Krishna and Harry Gurney, who made his IPL debut, used the slower balls and cutter to good effect.
When KKR batted, the pitch looked to have turned more forgiving for the batsmen. Narine and Lynn did not find themselves in a lot of trouble with the ball holding up as they were able to get the team off to a frentic start. Narine made a blitzkrieg 47 off 25, while Lynn made a slightly less brutal 50 off 32 to put KKR on the road to an easy victory.
Robin Uthappa did the finishing job with a fine cameo.
The Ruin of Kings
It was a performance Ajinkya Rahane's side would like to forget in a hurry. They could not make a more competitive score despite losing just three wickets in their 20 overs. The obvious exception to the rule on the night was Steve Smith. The former Australian captain would have seen David Warner tearing it up for the Sunrisers Hyderabad and wondered when his time would come. It arrived today, even if it wasn't in the same free-flowing fashion.
The right-hander came in after the fall of an early wicket, and had to endure a tough time out in the middle. He took 16 balls before striking his first boundary, a late cut off Narine, but ensured he kept improving as he moved forward. Kuldeep went for two fours in successive overs, but Smith had to once again rein in his attacking instincts as RR lost two quick wickets - that of Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi. His fifty came off 44 deliveries, but he picked up pace quickly to end with 73 off 59. It proved to be of little significance in the end, but Smith's solidity will atleast keep the struggling Royals in good stead going forward.
Royals now have just one win in five attempts, and are just 2 points away from last-placed RCB.
Where next for these teams?
Both teams are up against a rampaging Chennai Super Kings next up. KKR head to Chennai to take on Dhoni's side on Tuesday, while RR enjoy a longer break before they welcome CSK on Thursday.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 139/3 in 20 overs (Steve Smith 73*, Jos Buttler 37; Harry Gurney 2-25) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 140/2 in 13.5 overs (Chris Lynn 50, Sunil Narine 47; Shreyas Gopal 2-35) by 8 wickets
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