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Sunday, October 25, 2020

IPL 2020: Kolkata Knight Riders overthrow Rajasthan Royals with a 37-run victory

Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti led a clinical bowling display to help Kolkata Knight Riders register a 37-run win over Rajasthan Royals after Shubman Gill oozed class with the bat.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Updated: October 1, 2020 4:26:06 pm
Shivam Mavi scalped the wickets of Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson. (Source: IPL)

On the face of it, a victory target of 175 was well within Rajasthan Royals’ reach. In the last game, they had chased down 223 against Kings XI Punjab, though on a ‘postage stamp’ size ground in Sharjah. The Dubai pitch wasn’t a green-top. Kolkata Knight Riders, though, boast of arguably the most lethal pace attack in the tournament. Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, and Kamlesh Nagarkoti blew away the Royals to pave the way for a 37-run victory.

KKR pacers on song

Cummins made even a batsman of Steve Smith’s class unsure. Fast and straight, and making the ball rear off a length was his template. Smith’s attempt to counter that was ungainly. He fell prey to an uncharacteristic hoick.

Cummins bowled three overs in the Powerplay and sucked the fight out of the Royals top order. He took 1/13 in his first three overs but the pressure he created allowed Mavi and Nagarkoti to reap the rewards at the other end. The two youngsters picked two wickets apiece. Nagarkoti’s blinder in the deep to dismiss Jofra Archer was the cherry on top.

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When the in-form Sanju Samson and the dangerous Jos Buttler departed early on in the chase, the writing was on the wall. Rahul Tewatia, the hero of the last game, didn’t do much either and Robin Uthappa seems a shadow of the player he was in his prime. Tom Curran’s unbeaten 54 off 36 balls only helped in preventing much more damage to the net run rate.

Gill oozes class

Archer opened the bowling for Rajasthan Royals and hurled his first delivery at 147kph. Shubman Gill went on the front foot and showed the bat maker’s name. Archer’s third ball came at 150kph. Gill, once again on the front foot, pushed it firmly to mid-off. Aggression is not only about hitting 90-metre sixes. Gill’s approach against Archer’s thunderbolts was aggression personified.

KKR’s opening partnership has an artist and an artisan. Sunil Narine was agricultural, while Gill was easy on the eye. The latter treated Ankit Rajpoot, a domestic cricket thoroughbred with enough experience in the IPL, like a dibbly-dobbly medium pacer. He just stood and walloped a full delivery from Rajpoot over the straight boundary. Spinners came and Gill started toying with them. Leggie Shreyas Gopal made one skid off the surface. Gill was already on the front foot but as the ball kept a little low, he improvised and played a short-arm pull to the deep square-leg boundary. The 21-year-old offers similarities to Gundappa Viswanath and Mohammad Azharuddin in the way he handles tweakers.

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 The way Gill was playing on Wednesday, something less ordinary was needed to dismiss him. Archer had been taken out of the attack after the first over as Royals captain Smith held him back for the big-hitters, Andre Russell to be precise. But when the fast bowler was brought back for his second spell, Gill was dominating proceedings. A leg-cutter deceived the batsman, who closed the face of the bat a little too soon. Gill apart, KKR’s batting was about Eoin Morgan’s quality and intelligence at the back end of the innings.

Brief Scores: KKR 174 for 6 (Shubman Gill 47, Eoin Morgan 34; Jofra Archer 2/18) bt RR 137 for 9 (Tom Curran 54, Jos Buttler 21; Kamlesh Nagarkoti 2/13, Shivam Mavi 2/20)

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