Riyan Parag’s and Jofra Archer’s late onslaught got Rajasthan Royals their fourth win from an impossible position and rendered Dinesh Kartik’s valiant 97 not out for Kolkata Knight Riders in vain. The Royals pair added a game-changing 44 runs in 33 balls before Parag was out with nine runs required for victory. Jofra Archer scored those runs off the first two balls of the last over getting the win with a six.
Varun Aaron had Chris Lynn play the third ball of the inning on to his stumps. He also accounted for Shubman Gill in a similar fashion with the batsman playing a ball coming into him on to his stumps. Shreyas Gopal got Nitish Rana when he had the batsman caught at cover point. With KKR on 49 for 3 at the halfway and things looked gloomy for KKR when Dinesh Kartik cut loose. Shreyas Gopal was at the receiving end as Kartik carted a long hop over square leg for a six and followed it up with a further three boundaries. Sunil Narine finished the over with a six and claimed 25 runs from the over.
Sunil Narine was run out shortly after when the pair attempted a second run. As it turned out Kartik had run the first run short and KKR lost a wicket for a fruitless exercise. Andre Russell found it difficult to time the ball and despite being granted two lives by Stuart Binny and substitute fielder Prashant Chopra, was caught by Riyan Parag off Oshane Thomas for 14 runs scored off 14 balls. Kartik had completed his half-century off 35 balls before Russell’s dismissal and was batting fluently as wicket fell around him. Rahane took a fine catch at deep mid-wicket to send back Carlos Brathwaite in the nineteenth over. With Rinku Singh for company, Dinesh Karthik (97 from 50 balls) added another 44 runs off 16 balls to see Knight Riders finish for 175 for 7 wickets.
Rahane looked in fine fettle as he blazed his way to 34 runs off 19 balls scoring 17 runs off the fifth over bowled by Prithvi Raj. But Sunil Narine trapped Rahane lbw with a full-length ball which Rahane tried to play on the on-side and missed. KKR had scored 55 runs at the end of the power play but lost the wicket of Sanju Samson bowled by Piyush Chawla soon after. In the next over Narine got one past Steve Smith’s blade and bowled him rendering Rajasthan Royals 36 for 3 wickets. Chawla ended a disappointing IPL season for Ben Stokes when he had Russell catch the batsman at long-on.
Stuart Binny picked out Rinku Singh off Piyush Chawla at deep mid-wicket while Shreyas Gopal (18 off 9 balls) got out caught at long-on in the sixteenth over after a cameo. At the end of the over Knight Riders needed 46 runs off 24 balls and the asking rate was 11.5 runs per over. That is when Jofra Archer and Riyan Parag decided to attack. Together they scored 28 runs off the next two overs. By the time Riyan Parag (47 off 31 balls) was out, Rajasthan Royals needed just 9 runs from 7 balls. Jofra Archer (27 from 12 balls) closed the issue in the last over by hitting a boundary and a six. Rajasthan Royals won their fourth match of the season and are still in contention for the playoffs.
To feature in the playoffs Rajasthan Royals have to win all the three of their remaining games and hope that Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals come of better off against all their opponents. They will, however, miss the services of Steve Smith, Jos Butler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes. Kolkata Knight Riders have conceded their sixth defeat on the trot after winning their first five matches. They will have to win their remaining three matches to have a chance of being figured in the playoffs.