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.
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 continued…