Rajasthan Royals held their nerves in extreme pressure situation to pip Kolkata Knight Riders in a nail-biting Super Over finish in a fifth round encounter of the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.
It is the first match in the tournament that went to the wire with both main innings and the Super Over scores ending in a tie. Rajasthan Royals were adjudged winners as they hit 18 fours and a six across two innings compared to KKR’s nine fours and three sixes.
In the Super Over, KKR batting first scored 11 off James Faulkner with Manish Pandey getting a six.
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In reply, Steve Smith showed his cricketing acumen with a soft tap off the last delivery from Sunil Narine towards extra cover to get two runs which would have sealed the match in their favour.
Having set a target of 153 in 20 overs for KKR, the Royals bowlers kept their calm at the death as they restricted Gautam Gambhir’s men to 152 for eight in 20 overs.
It was easily the most exciting contest of the UAE leg, with KKR needed 12 runs off the last over bowled by Kane Richardson. With three to get of the final delivery, Shakib al Hasan (29 no) could manage only two runs as the scores were tied at 152.
This was after a splendid penultimate over bowled by ‘birthday boy’ Faulkner (3/11 in 2 overs) in which he got the wickets of Suryakumar Yadav (31), Robin Uthappa (0) and R Vinay Kumar (0) when they needed 16 off the last two.
Suryakumar swept Watson for a six to signal his intent of chasing down tthe target and it was followed with a heave that went for boundary through third man region as he got equation down to 28 from three overs.
Shakib al Hasan then came to his own as he struck successive boundaries off Kane Richardson as KKR inched towards the target.
Surya’s cameo of 31 from 19 balls ended as he was comfortably pouched by Smith off Faulkner.
Faulkner then bowled Robin Uthappa, who was shuffling across the crease to expose his leg-stump and got Vinay Kumar (0) off the very next ball as four runs came off the 19th over.
After a hat-trick of ducks and 1 from the four games, Gautam Gambhir (45) looked determined to make it count as he scored 45 off 44 balls with four boundaries. It wasn’t a fluent innings but considering his form and confidence, one couldn’t fault his effort. He did play considerable number of dot balls but showed his intent to stay at the crease come what may.
Gambhir showed a lot of resolve as he got his first boundary of this edition by cutting Richardson between point and cover. When James Faulkner dropped one short, Gambhir rocked back to pull it for a one bounce four.
Manvinder Bisla (3), playing his first match, was searching for the swinging deliveries. His ordeal ended when Richardson got one to cut back and the batsman played hard at it only to offer a catch to Karun Nair at first slip.
Jacques Kallis got a reprieve on 1 when he was caught behind off Shane Watson but it was adjudged a no-ball as the bowler was found overstepping.
However Kallis in his bid to prop up the rate was holed out in the deep off leggie Pravin Tambe with Steve Smith taking a well judged running catch.
Manish Pandey (19) had a nice little partnership with Gambhir but couldn’t capitalise. After hitting Tambe for a six and boundary, he was done in by a flipper as he was struck on the pads rooted to his crease.
Gambhir was finally out for 45 when he tried to slog sweep Rajat Bhatia out of the park but only managed to find the fielder at mid-wicket boundary.
Earlier, Ajinkya Rahane hit a classy 72 as Rajasthan Royals posted a fighting 152 for five on a dry pitch at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here today.
While Rahane anchored the innings with proper cricketing shots getting his runs off 59 balls, skipper Watson hit a few lusty blows to score 33 off 24 balls as the 64 runs in 7.3 overs for the third wicket.
Rahane’s innings had six boundaries and a six. The manner in which he paced the innings was praiseworthy. When Watson and before that Samson were going after the bowlers, he dropped anchor getting those singles along with odd boundaries as Royals reached 150 because of the Mumbai man.
Once he got his half-century, he opened up pulling Vinay Kumar for a six. For KKR, Shakib al Hasan (1/23) and Sunil Narine (0/28) had a decent outing. R Vinay Kumar (2/30) was the most successful bowler for KKR.
Opting to bat, Karun’s (1) struggle in this format continued as he tried to give his state captain Vinay the charge and saw delivery cutting back into clip the leg bail.
Sanju Samson (20) got four boundaries off Morkel in the final Powerplay over but was out in a freak manner. The talented Kerala youngster got onto the backfoot as Shakib bowled a fuller delivery. The ball hit his pads and rolled onto the stumps.
Rahane hit a few crisp boundaries and also got one when a thickish edge off a rising delivery from Morkel flew over the slip cordon.
When Chawla was introduced into the attack, Rahane played a copybook sweep shot to get a boundary when the bowler pitched one well outside the leg-stump.
The first 10 overs produced 62 runs for the loss of two wickets.
Skipper Watson’s first big hit was a lofted one bounce four off a flighted delivery from Shakib. Rahane followed his skipper as he also used his feet to perfection to play the inside-out lofted shot over extra cover for a boundary.
The watershed moment for Royals came in the 14th over before the second strategic time-out as Watson got three boundaries off Piyush Chawla as it yielded 17 runs in all.
The first was a slog sweep while the second was a cover drive and the third one a lucky escape as the inside edge went for a boundary.
In the next over from Narine, Watson smashed him over extra cover for a boundary. Rahane in the meantime completed his second 50 off the tournament off 44 balls.