Jofra Archer bid farewell to IPL 2019 on Thursday in style as he took Rajasthan Royals to a thrilling victory with a six in the last over of the encounter against KKR at Eden Gardens. Chasing 176, Rajasthan were in a spot of bother in the middle over when five wickets fell down. However, Archer along with 17-year-old Riyan Parag orchestrated a remarkable comeback. With 9 needed off 1 over there was a bit of nervousness in the RR camp. However, Archer brushed off all fears with a flourish as KKR succumbed to their sixth loss in a row. Young Riyan Pirag showed brilliant temperament and scored a vital 47 off 31 balls which put a shadow over Dinesh Karthik’s 97 as RR won the match with four balls to spare.
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Toss: Rajasthan Royals win the toss and elect to field against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Thursday. Both the teams made two changes. For Rajasthan, Oshane Thomas gets a place in the side and will make his IPL debut. He comes in for Turner. Dhawal Kulkarni is out and Varun Aaron replaces him. For KKR, Prasidh Krishna comes in for KC Cariappa while Carlos Brathwaite replaces Harry Gurney.
First innings: Put in to bat, KKR got off to a poor start and were 32/2 in powerplay overs. Varun Aaron was destructive with his pace and removed both the openers Chris Lynn (0) and Shubman Gill (14) cheaply. KKR kept losing wickets at regular intervals but skipper Dinesh Karthik held one fort.
Karthik seized the momentum in the 11th over when he hit Shreyas Gopal for a six followed by three boundaries in an over that yielded 25 runs and KKR did not look back since then. Karthik completed his fifty from 35 balls and smashed Jofra Archer for successive sixes in the penultimate over before bettering his previous best of 86 when he went berserk against Unadkat by hitting him for two sixes and one four in the final over.
Second innings: In reply, Rajasthan got off to a flier with Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson. However, spinners Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla applied the brakes to bring KKR back into the match. However, Parag’s innings along with Archer’s cameo took Rajasthan to victory.
Gamechanger: Riyan Parag’s innings was the gamechanger of the match. Riyan Parag’s innings today had a power rating of 290 – the highest among all the batsmen in this match so far. An incredible knock from the 17-year old
Smith | RR captain: We made it difficult for ourselves. We lost too many wickets in the middle section after a good start. Riyan Parag .. isn’t he an impressive young man? He played very composed like a seasoned campaigner. Great contribution from Gopal and Archer too. I thought they bowled really well with the new ball, first 7-8 overs. Oshane did well in his first game. Varun Aaron was exceptional with the new ball. The boys did a great job.
Dinesh Karthik | KKR captain: Little disappointed. Thought we were in it to win, but it wasn’t our day. I have kept saying that winning always feels good, but when you lose close games like this you feel ‘wow, when are we gonna get there’. (The plan in the final over) We were looking to go full and on the stumps, obviously the first edge didn’t help and then the equation got easier. Second shot was a good shot. You can’t put too much pressure on the bowler. Wet ball; dew on outfield, it didn’t help us. Happy with the way boys fought, not happy with the result.
Scorecard: Kolkata Knight Riders: 175/6 in 20 overs (Dinesh Karthik 97 not out; Varun Aaron 2/20).
Rajasthan Royals: 177/7 in 19.2 overs (Riyan Parag 47, Ajinkya Rahane 34, Jofra Archer 27 not out; Piyush Chawla 3/20).