KKR keeps their hope alive, beat Rajasthan Royals by 8 wickets
Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets under a tailor-made Eden conditions here today to keep their hopes afloat in the Pepsi Indian Premier League.
The struggling Yusuf Pathan reposed Gautam Gambhir’s faith as he finally returned to form with an unbeaten 49 (35 balls; 3×4, 3×6), his highest for the Knight Riders.
Pathan shared an unbroken 78-run third-wicket partnership with Jacques Kallis, who struck an unbeaten 33, as the duo settled the issue with 16 balls to spare.
Kallis struck Brad Hogg over his head for a boundary to finish the chase as Pathan remained stranded one run shy of a half-century but his coming to form ensured Knight Riders their fourth win from 11 matches.
Chasing a modest 133, the Knight Riders set the tone with Gambhir (12) and Manvinder Bisla (29) sharing a 41-run opening-wicket partnership that came off just 33 balls.
For the Royals, skipper Rahul Dravid’s decision to bat way down the order at No.7 did not help their cause as they were completely outplayed by the hosts.
Bisla stepped out to Chavan for a six over long-on in the third over, and in the next over, struck back to back boundaries off Watson as they raced to 35 for none in the fourth over.
Gambhir never seemed in a hurry as he was happy giving strike to Bisla. With the Royals desperate for a breakthrough, there was some heated exchange in the middle when Watson and Bisla engaged in a war of words as both the skippers joined in the middle.
A brilliant stumping of Gambhir by Dishant Yagnik, who stood up to Watson, broke the opening partnership. Bisla too followed suit which brought Pathan to the middle.
The burly right-hander from Baroda straightaway launched the counter attack, slamming Chavan for a huge six over the bowler’s head.
The misfiring Pathan grew in confidence as there were a flurry of sixes from him with little effect from the Royals’ spin duo of Brad Hogg and Chavan as they took the required rate to less than run-a-ball.