Royals Beat Knight Riders


They Bag Two Points in Tense Super Over Thriller

Rajasthan Royals bagged two points from their tied game against Kolkata Knight Riders as they snuck ahead of their opposition based on their boundary count when even a Super Over could not separate the two teams. 

Earlier, Shane Watson won the toss and chose to take first strike in Abu Dhabi, and Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair came out to open the innings for RR. However, Vinay Kumar bowled Nair (1) out in the third over itself. Sanju Samson then joined Rahane in the middle. The pair kept the scorecard ticking and took RR past the 50-run mark in the eighth over. They added 41 runs before Shakib Al Hasan cleaned up Samson (20), leaving RR on 54 for two.

Shane Watson then took strike opposite Rahane, who had already got his eye in. The duo ensured they laid the platform for a competitive score as they constructed a valuable third-wicket stand. They brought up the team’s 100 and the 50 of the partnership in the 15th over; and shortly thereafter, Rahane reached his half-century as well. But finally, KKR caught a break as Watson (33) was run-out after adding 64 runs in seven-and-a-half overs.

Rahane, however, kept going after the KKR bowlers. And while he was separated from Stuart Binny (0) just a short while later, the diminutive opener ensured his team put up a competitive total on the board. However, even Rahane (72) departed in the 20th over when he was caught at long-on while going for a big one off Vinay Kumar. Steve Smith (18*) and James Faulkner (2*) then took RR to 152 for five at the end of regulation.

For KKR, Vinay Kumar took two wickets, while Morne Morkel and Shakib Al Hasan claimed a scalp each.

In response, skipper Gautam Gambhir and Manvinder Bisla took guard for KKR up front. And after a spate of misfires, Gambhir finally found form. While Bisla (3), in his first game of the season, was dismissed by Kane Richardson cheaply, Gambhir held the innings together. On a day when even the experienced Jacques Kallis (13) – the next man in – failed to make much of an impact, the southpaw lent stability to the run-chase.

Gambhir was then joined by Manish Pandey, with KKR still 103 runs adrift of the target. But despite Gambhir’s best efforts, the required run-rate kept creeping up, and at one point, the run-chase equation read 80 off 48 balls. That is when Pandey (19) stepped up to the plate and took the attack to Pravin Tambe, who had earlier claimed Kallis’ wicket. But after smashing the leggie for a six and a four, the right-hand batsman was trapped leg-before by the bowler in the same over. 

With KKR on 85 for three and the match interestingly poised, Suryakumar Yadav came to bat with his captain. But before the duo could add any substance to the chase, Gambhir (45) got out off the bowling of Rajat Bhatia in the 14th over. Then with Shakib Al Hasan for company, Yadav stepped on the accelerator. Thanks to both batsmen’s exploits, KKR brought down the run-chase equation to 16 off the last two overs. That’s when Faulkner took rolled his arm over and ended the dangerous Yadav’s (31) 19-ball knock off his first delivery. The Australian pacer then bowled Robin Uthappa (0) out with KKR needing 12 runs off eight balls. And off the very next delivery, Faulkner repeated the feat against Vinay Kumar (0). However, he missed out on a hat-trick by a whisker as the next ball barely missed Piyush Chawla’s stumps.

Richardson then bowled a full-toss first up in the 20th over, and it was dispatched for a boundary by Shakib Al Hasan. However, Chawla (0) was run-out off the next delivery while attempting a dangerous second run. After a wide and a single by Sunil Narine (1*), Shakib Al Hasan was back on strike with KKR five runs away from victory. Richardson then bowled a dot-ball, after which the batsmen ran for a double. With three required off one ball, Shakib Al Hasan (27*) struck the ball down the ground to steal another double. With KKR ending their 20 overs on 152 for eight, the regulation period ended in a tie and the game headed into the Super Over.

Super Over

KKR, who took first shot at the Super Over, went with Yadav and Shakib Al Hasan, while Faulkner took the ball for RR. Yadav was run-out off the first ball while trying to sneak in two quick runs. Pandey then walked in for KKR, and he took a single off the first delivery he faced. Even the next ball only produced a single, but one after that was struck for a maximum by Pandey. The ball after that produced another single. And then off the final delivery, Shakib Al Hasan was run-out while sneaking in a two. In all, KKR managed to score 12 off the Super Over.

In response, RR sent out Watson and Smith to face the wily Narine. The RR captain got a single off the first ball, while Smith snuck in for two off the next. The next ball produced a one, but the delivery after that was struck for a four in the midwicket region by Watson. He then took a single off the next ball, while Smith smartly placed the ball for a double off the final delivery. Despite a tied Super Over, RR took home the two points on offer since they had a higher boundary count in the game.


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