With an 86-run victory over the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021, the Kolkata Knight Riders took care of business

With an 86-run victory over the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021, the Kolkata Knight Riders took care of business
Image Source: BCCI/IPL

Eoin Morgan and the Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 86 runs today to secure a playoff berth in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League. With their 86-run win over Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah on Thursday, Kolkata Knight Riders are all but assured of a place in the top four of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2021.

As the Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings, and Royal Challengers Bangalore have already sealed three of the four playoff spots, KKR has cemented their position for the final playoff spot, finishing with 14 points from 14 games with a net run rate of 0.587.

In the race for the playoffs, the Mumbai Indians hold the only point advantage out of the 13 teams. But they need to defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last match on Friday (October 8) to dislodge KKR from fourth place. A miracle is required for Mumbai to advance past KKR in the playoffs.  

Morgan wrote on Twitter after winning, “I don’t think it could have got better. Losing the toss and batting was difficult. The start we got was fantastic. Gill and Iyer have been our shining stars. To get to 170, we thought we were in a commanding position. a powerful performance today.”    

Highlights from KKR vs Rajasthan Royals

When Shubman Gill comes to bat, he hit a second consecutive fifty, leading KKR to the venue’s highest score of the season, a well-deserved 171 for four. Gill and Venkatesh Iyer stitched 79 runs for the opening stand, making KKR’s innings roll to a stunning start.

Rahul Tripathi (21) and Dinesh Karthik (14, not out of 11) helped KKR past the 170-run mark before the end. In need of chasing a mammoth target of 172 to win, R.R. had a disastrous start, losing their best batter of the season, Yashasvi Jaiswal, to Shakib Al Hasan in the third ball.

To make matters worse, skipper Sanju Samson departed on the first ball of the next over. In his first over following an injury recovery, Lockie Ferguson claimed two wickets — he first removed Liam Livingstone and then took out Anuj Rawat on the next ball.  

The second wicket fell in the eighth over, as Mavi struck twice, disturbing Glenn Phillips and Shivam Dube’s timber with his brute pace as R.R. kept losing wickets evenly. Varun Chakravarthy joined the party in the next round by dismissing Chris Morris’s leg before the wicket.

R.R. reached 49 for seven after Rahul Tewatia hammered Mavi for three boundaries to take them to 49 for seven. R.R.’s first six of the innings came from Tewatia, who continued to attack despite no pressure on his back. In 37 balls, Tewatia scored 44 runs, but it wasn’t enough as R.R. was dismissed for 85 by KKR. Mavi (3/21, 4/21) and Ferguson (3/18) posted their best IPL figures.  

The team reached 50 in the eighth over thanks to impressive starts from Gill and Iyer. Iyer failed to control his instincts as KKR came 75 for no loss after ten overs, clobbering Jaydev Unadkat over deep midwicket boundary and then right over the bowlers’ heads to get 14 runs off the 10th over.

Gill was then inspired by Iyer’s power-hitting and welcomed Rahul Tewatia with a maximum. As Iyer attempted a grand reverse sweep, Tewatia had the last laugh as he went through Iyer’s defence between his legs. After Phillips was introduced into the attack, R.R. skipper Nitish Rana bowled for 17 runs via the off-spinner.

As Rahul Tripathi edged a full delivery from Mustafizur Rahman, Samson dropped him, and he was out for a duck. 

The reasons behind the massive win

During the first six overs, Samson used three quick bowlers who, between them, bowled 20 dots and conceded three fours and a six. As the second-lowest PowerPlay score of the season by batting first in Sharjah, KKR came in with 34 for no loss.  

In the course of the innings, the surface proved increasingly tricky for free-scoring. R.R.’s pacers slowed the ball down; the cutters caught it occasionally. Ten overs of spin were bowled without any spin. 

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