Kolkata Knight Riders slipped to their 4th straight defeat of Indian Premier League 2021, thereby reaching the bottom of the 8-team points table after an ordinary performance with both the bat and the ball against Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai on Saturday. KKR were handed a 6-wicket loss after Eoin Morgan’s men posted only 133 for 9 in 20 overs at the Wankhede Stadium which was played host to teams scoring in excess of 180 with ease.
Rajasthan Royals rode on a 4-wicket haul by their most-expensive signing Chris Morris and a steady and matured 41-ball 42 not out from captain Sanju Samson who anchored their chase which was completed in 18.5 overs. The comfortable win, which comes 2 days after their 10-wicket loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore not just lifts them out of the last spot but their confidence which had taken a beating after injuries to Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer.
This was Kolkata’s 10th loss in their last 11 games at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Rajasthan Royals were under no pressure despite losing Jos Buttler (5) as early as the third over. Yashasvi Jaiswal, who came into the XI in place of struggling Manan Vohra, did his chances no harm with a quickfire 22 as the Royals posted 50 for 1 in powerplay, twice the score that KKR managed after a strange start to their batting innings.
Rajasthan lost Yashasvi in the powerplay but captain Samson and Shivam Dube stitched a 45-run stand to put the pressure on Kolkatta. Skipper Samson came up with an uncharacteristic knock as he batted with a lot of calmness, knowing that the target was very much achievable despite losing Dube (22) and Rahul Tewatia (5) in quick succession.
Samson and senior South Africa batsman David Miller (24 not out) made sure the Royals went past the finish line without any further hiccups with a 34-run stand. Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy picked up 2 wickets but it was not enough to stop the Royals from sealing 2 crucial points.
Chris Morris hurts Andre Russell, KKR yet again
Earlier in the day, Kolkata Knight Riders came up with a baffling batting effort as they lacked intent after being sent into bat on a good pitch in Mumbai. While Shubman Gill (11) fell early, failing to make use of a dropped chance, Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi managed to take KKR to only 25 for 1 in the powerplay overs. Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya and Jaydev Unadkat bowled tidy lines as Kolkata batsmen were unable to take the attack to the trio of the left-arm fast bowlers.
With Rana falling for 25-ball 22, KKR decided to send Sunil Narine up the order but the experiment failed as the West Indies all-rounder was not able to provide the much-needed impetus (6 from 7 balls). Captain Eoin Morgan fell without facing a delivery after getting run-out in a freakish manner with the ball hitting his bat at the non-striker’s end before Morris whipped the bails off.
A lot depended on their two big finishers in Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell as they had headed into the match after a fine display of big-hitting during their valiant loss to Chennai Super Kings earlier this week. However, there was no fireworks from Russell and Karthik as Chris Morris sent them back to the hut in the same over.
Morris then returned to pick up the wicket of Pat Cummins, who was looking to add useful runs to the tally after beginning the final over with a six.
While Morris topped the bowling charts with figures of 4/23, their trio of left-arm pacers gave away just 78 runs in 12 overs while picking up 3 wickets.