IPL 2018: Nitish Rana's All-round Show Helps Kolkata Knight Riders Go Top of the Table
April 19, 2018 07:26 AM NPT
Nitish Rana and Ben Stokes (R). (BCCI Image)
JAIPUR, April 19: : Nitish Rana (2 for 11 and 35* off 27) produced a stunning all-round show as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday.
With this latest win, Kolkata have stormed on to the top of the IPL point table — tied with Sunrisers Hyderabad (3 wins out of 3) — with three wins in five matches.
Chasing a fighting total of 161, KKR got off to the worst start possible as K Gowtham castled Chris Lynn in the first over of the innings itself. Robin Uthappa joined Sunil Narine in the middle and the duo issued a stunning fightback to get the KKR chase up and running.
The duo dealt in boundaries and took the attack to the Rajasthan bowlers, who had no answers to the might of both Narine and Uthappa. The duo put on a 69-run stand for the second wicket, before Narine ran himself out for 35.
But Uthappa kept going and started the rebuilding job with Rana, who took his time early on in the innings. Uthappa finally perished two runs before completing his well-deserved fifty courtesy of an outstanding effort on the long-on boundary from Ben Stokes.
Dinesh Karthik joined Rana at the crease and the duo put on a flawless partnership to take the away side over the line with seven balls to spare. Karthik pushed his partner to the limit during the course of his innings and kept taking singles and doubles to put the pressure on the Rajasthan fielders.
The duo put on an unbeaten 61-run stand for the forth wicket and Karthik finished the match in style by hitting a six to get his team over the line. With this win, KKR also ended Rajasthan's 9-match unbeaten run at home.
Earlier, Rajasthan openers D'Arcy Short and Ajinkya Rahane helped Rajasthan put on a competitive score of 160/8 in their designated 20 overs. Few middle-order batsmen also chipped in during the middle overs to take the home side to this fighting total.
After scoring just 9 runs from the first three overs off Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav respectively, Rahane broke loose in the fourth over as he slammed four boundaries off the bowling off Sunil Narine to get the innings rolling.
While Short was quiet on one end, Rahane kept hitting fours and sixes on the other to increase Rajasthan's run rate. But Rahane's 19-ball 36 finally came to end when Karthik produced a magical moment in the field to stump his counterpart.
In-form batsman Sanju Samson too followed suit as he was caught out in the deep off the bowling of young pacer Shivam Mavi. Short and Rahul Tripathi then joined forces in the middle to steady the Rajasthan ship after two quick blows.
But Short's 44-run innings finally came to an after he failed to read a Nitish Rana delivery and the ball crashed into the middle and off-stump. Tripathi too lost his concentration soon after as he became Kuldeep Yadav's only scalp of the night for 15.
Ben Stokes hit a six early on in his innings to announce his intentions but his bad form continued as Piyush Chawla got rid of him for 15. K Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal didn't trouble the scorers much as they were dismissed by Tom Curran off successive deliveries.
Jos Buttler played a good hand of 24 runs off 18 deliveries to help the home side reach a fighting total in the match in front of their home support.