Kolkata Knight Riders are now just one win away from qualifying for Indian Premier League's playoffs after they defeated Rajasthan Royals by six wickets, at Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday. Whenever Narine has given them the start they are looking for, KKR have looked a unsafe side. It did not work as Narine took Gowtham apart, scoring 21 runs off five balls.
Jos Buttler took off in a similar vein and smashed Shivam Mavi for 28 runs mixing innovation with power.
The two openers had added 63 off 29 balls setting a solid foundation but RR could not cash in on the opportunity as their batsmen kept on falling like nine pins at both ends of the wicket.
They have themselves to blame for putting themselves in such scenario.
KKR 119/4 after 16 overs.
KKR's reply was dramatic.
The left-arm spinner Kuldeep picked up figures of 4-20 to restrict the Royals to 142 all out in 19 overs. Kallis also lauded the captaincy of Karthik, who has also been consistent with the bat.
But that approach cost them Lynn's wicket when he tried to pummel a Stokes short ball over deep point but missed his timing to fall for a 42-ball 45. It wasn't the typical blazing innings one is used to seeing from the Australian, but a very important knock for his team.
Coming in to chase, KKR got exactly what they wanted. He opened his account with a flurry of boundaries, but then went 18 deliveries without finding the fence; he focused on singles, strike-rotation and building partnerships.
Archer directed two short balls at MI's top two batsmen - Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit Sharma - and had them caught remarkably well by Jaydev Unadkat at long-leg. The England all-rounder, who, along with Buttler, will now bid adieu to the IPL because of his Test commitments, had an excellent game with the ball, taking 3/15 in four overs. When there was the width, he played the cut and found the gap through point. Twenty-eight of those runs came in one Mavi over, as he toyed with the young fast bowler.
"He's (Kuldeep Yadav) an global quality player. sometimes he slacks off, bowls a bad ball, trying too much so I'm just trying to make him do as well as he can and stay consistent". We have team bonding sessions, keep our smiles, keeping going on in the tournament. But the Royals captain chose to reverse sweep a Kuldeep googly from around the leg stump.
Kolkata Knight Riders' captain Dinesh Karthik has been in a terrific form. Even though they lost the wicket of Robin Uthappa after the dismissal of Narine, they did not panic. "When we got a chance in the game, we didn't let go", Karthik said. Russell would be the only bowler in the match to not concede a single boundary.
Stuart Binny (1) was next, stumped having been bamboozled by a googly, before Ben Stokes (11) chipped a tame return catch to ensure Kuldeep claimed a wicket in each of his four overs, bowled on the reel.
Kuldeep Yadav, for his spell of 4-0-20-4.