Rajasthan Royals consigned Kolkata Knight Riders to their sixth defeat in a row in the VIVO IPL after clinching a narrow 3-wicket win at the Eden Gardens on Thursday night. After being put into bat, KKR posted a competitive 175-6 in their 20 overs thanks to captain Dinesh Karthik’s unbeaten 50-ball 97, but RR chased down the target with four balls to spare, with 9 to get from the final over of the innings.
The RR run chase began in bright fashion, with Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson taking 50 from the first five overs before KKR’s introduction of spin derailed their run chase. Sunil Narine’s wicket of Rahane in the sixth over, trapped in front for 34, sparked a collapse as RR lost three wickets for the next 10 runs as their run rate fell from over 10 runs to below 8.
Ben Stokes, playing in his last VIVO IPL fixture of the year before leaving to join up with the England national team, was caught in the deep for 11 to bring to an end a poor season for RR. The visitors’ 17-year-old all-rounder Riyan Parag, however, continued to impress with a stellar innings of 47 from 31 balls which kept RR in the game, before he was out hit-wicket in the penultimate over of the innings off Andre Russell.
Jofra Archer, however, ended his stint at the VIVO IPL 2019 with a match-winning 27 not out from just 12 balls as he hit a boundary and a six off the first two balls of Prasidh Krishna’s final over to close out the game.
Earlier, KKR’s innings got off to a poor start as Varun Aaron, playing only his second game of the 2019 VIVO IPL, bowled Chris Lynn with the third ball of the innings. Aaron struck once again to remove Shubman Gill with a swinging slower delivery, and KKR’s problems were compounded when they lost Nitish Rana for 21 soon after. Dinesh Karthik, however, rescued his team from a collapse with a measured innings in which he first consolidated, and then tore into the bowlers towards the end.