An aggressive celebration from the normally astute Ajinkya Rahane at the conclusion of the 42 overs of the match gave an idea of the thrill it had caused. The crowd got their money’s worth as the 19th match in the Pepsi IPL 2014 went all the way down to the wire, plunging into a superover.
After deciding to bat first, the Rajasthan Royals were stranded initially. After losing Karun Nair (1) early to a forgettable shot, they were rather slow and managed a mere 25-1 at the end of 5 overs. However, with some glittering stroke play and some bout of luck, the 19 year old Samson smashed Morne Morkel for 20 runs in the 6th over, bringing his team right back into the game. However, the youngster perished soon as a quick ball from Shakib dislodged his stumps clipping his pads on its way. Rahane continued to be rock steady as his captain joined him on the crease. The pair amassed 64 runs in 45 deliveries filled with some cracking shots from Watson before he was run out in the last ball of the 16th over. Stuart Binny’s first ball dismissal added to the woes with the willow. Rahane looked well settled at 66 as Steve Smith came in to bat. Shakib Al Hasan finished his excellent spell of 1-23, justifying his selection over Chris Lynn. Narine continued to bowl well but couldn’t find a wicket in the match. Smith gathered some momentum for the Rajasthan Royals as he raced to a quick fire 19 from 11 balls. Ajinkya Rahane returned to the pavilion in search of some quick runs in the ultimate over. The batting effort Rajasthan Royals totaled up to a competitive 152 at the end of the first innings. Ajinkya Rahane shined as the star of the batting line up with his 72 and was given support by fast paced runs from Watson and Smith. The Kolkata bowling line up was bedecked by good performances from Shakib, Kumar (2-30) and Narine (0-28).
Kolkata Knight Riders make merry at front, mess at last:
As the Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gambhir took guard against Binny in the initial over, he was desperate for some runs. Things started off decently for him and he was able to strike some sort of form primarily. At the other end Bisla (1) was taken at slips in the fourth over as a result of some feisty bowling from Richardson. KKR’s worries deepened as Kallis was caught at 14 by Steve Smith for yet another difficult catch. Manish Pandey (19) tried smashing a few before Tambe got rid of him.
S Yadav who was promoted up the order found form instantly as he hit Tambe for a couple of boundaries. Just as the things started to seem promising for KKR, they lost their skipper for 45, an innings filled with fight back and resilience. Yadav continued with his dazzling and unorthodox stroke play as he was joined by Shakib at the other end. With the required run rate climbing over 10.5, things seemed weary for the Knight Riders. However their time came when both the batsmen smashed Watson for 15 runs in the 17th over, turning the tide of the game. Richardson couldn’t stop the run flow as he was hit 11 runs in the 18th over.
At 16 required from 12 balls, the game seemed to have slipped away from the Rajasthan Royals. Faulkner however, had other plans as he took the important wickets of Yadav, Uthappa and Kumar in the penultimate over giving away just 4 runs. Richardson was to bowl the last over wherein Kolkata needed 12. The match’s fate was to be decided on a super over courtesy a run out, a four and a couple of runs from the last ball in the Richardson over.
Kolkata were to bat first in the super over against the Birthday boy, Faulkner. The first 3 deliveries from him were exceptional with one of them yielding a run out which was an outcome of some great work by Samson behind the stumps. One wayward delivery from Faulkner was hit for a six by Manish Pandey as the hopes of the KKR fans soared. Accurate bowling and great keeping for the rest of the deliveries ensured that a boundary was not hit again. The Rajasthan Royals needed 12 to win the match. Smith and Watson took guard against Narine who kept things quiet for the first couple of deliveries. Things improved for the Rajasthan Royals as Watson smacked Narine for a four. The fielder misjudging the ball added to Gambhir’s frustration. The last delivery needed to yield at least 2 for the Royals and less than 1 for the Knight Riders. Steve Smith showing great presence of mind tapped it for a couple as Royals equaled the KKR power play score and won courtesy their higher boundary count. By far the most thrilling match of this year’s Indian Premier Leaugue.
Player Ratings for the Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Rajasthan Royals
Ajinkya Rahane- 8
Shane Watson- 8.5
Shakib Ul Hasan- 9.5
Gautam Gambhir- 8
Suryakumar Yadav- 9
Kane Richardson- 7
James Faulkner- 9.5
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