Rajasthan’s all-round team performance helped continue their winning ways
The Rajasthan Royals beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by 22 runs to continue their excellent start in the 2012 IPL, giving them two wins in two matches.
The Royals, coming off their huge win against the Kings XI Punjab, completely dominated Kolkata, who were playing their second match in this year’s tournament, right from the beginning.
Kolkata Knight Riders captain, Gautam Gambhir, won the toss and chose to field first, as he wanted to restrict the Royals to a low score, and use the depth of his team’s batting lineup to chase down a target.
Playing in front of their home crowd, Rajasthan openers, Rahul Dravid, who is also the captain of the side, and Ajinkya Rahane, made their way out to the middle, hoping not to disappoint them.
However, things couldn’t have started worse for the Royals, as Rahane, who made a blistering 98 against the Kings XI Punjab, was run out on the ninth ball of the innings without scoring any runs at all.
Dravid, was joined at the crease by wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami, and the pair quickly repaired the early damage sustained with a 43 run partnership, at a run rate of 8.32.
Dravid, was then dismissed for 26 runs off 24 balls, during which, he hit two boundaries and two huge sixes as well.
Goswami, soon departed as well on 23 off 18, during which he managed to smack two boundaries.
Ashok Menaria and Brad Hodge, provided the vital partnership of the Rajasthan innings, scoring a dazzling 64 runs between them, at a run rate of 8.53, as they looked to push the team towards a respectable total.
It was Hodge who fell on 44 from just 29 deliveries, which included three boundaries and two sixes, that ended the 64 run partnership he and Menaria had put together.
Hodge, was awarded the Man of the Match award for his outstanding batting performance, and said: “It was a good wicket. 7 runs per over was never going to be enough and we got a good partnership. Yusuf Pathan got me out last year so I wanted to get a few runs against him.”
Menaria and Owais Shah, managed to add another 27 runs for the Royals, before Menaria, himself, was dismissed on 40 runs off just 30 balls, during which he cracked four boundaries and a massive six.
With the number of overs dwindling, Shah and Kevon Cooper, accumulated another 12 runs off the last eight deliveries left in the innings, as Rajasthan posted an excellent total of 164.
Shah, remained unbeaten on 23 from only 11 balls, as he hit two boundaries and a six for good measure.
Australian pace bowler, Brett Lee, took two wickets for the Knight Riders, while Rajat Bhatia chipped in with one as well.
Set a target of 165 to win, the Kolkata Knight Riders’ opening pair, Jacques Kallis and Brendon McCullum, did not make a good start to the innings, as Kallis was dismissed for five runs.
The very next delivery, captain Gautam Gambhir, was caught behind, leaving him very frustrated as he walked back to the pavilion.
The nightmare continued for the Knight Riders, as the very next delivery, which happened to be the first delivery of a new over, saw the dismissal of McCullum, who only managed to make two runs from four deliveries.
Just seventeen runs later, Debabrata Das, was on his way back to the pavilion after making 12 runs, where the rest of the team members could not believe what was taking place.
Yusuf Pathan and Manoj Tiwary, put together a much-needed 41 run partnership, at a run rate of 8.78, before, Pathan himself folded on 15 to the constant pressure applied by the Rajasthan bowling attack.
After Pathan fell, the Rajasthan bowlers cleaned up the rest of the Kolkata middle order, except for Tiwary, who could only watch in horror as partner after partner of his were dismissed in regular intervals.
With Kolkata struggling at 94 for the fall of seven wickets, Brett Lee and Tiwary, pulled together and made a useful 38 run partnership, during which, Tiwary brought up his half century off 42 deliveries, before the very next delivery, Lee was clean bowled by Kevon Cooper.
Cooper, was on a hat-trick, after getting rid of Sunil Narine with his next delivery, leaving Kolkata at 132 with just one wicket in hand, which effectively ended their chances of winning the match.
Manoj Tiwary tried to do whatever he could in order to get Kolkata as close as possible to their target, but, he was finally out, after being clean bowled by Johan Botha for 59 off 49 deliveries, during which he cracked seven boundaries.
Once Tiwary was out, the Rajasthan Royals team and fans were celebrating their second win in a row, while the Knight Riders looked on in despair, knowing that they had gotten their IPL campaign off to a bad start.
Kevon Cooper, was the pick of the Rajasthan bowlers, as he picked up three wickets, while Ankeet Chavan, Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi, took two wickets each, leaving Johan Botha, who picked the one important wicket of Tiwary.
Kolkata captain, Gautam Gambhir, was frustrated with the batting display from his team, and said: “It’s difficult to chase when you are 3 down early into your innings. We try and get the right combination, we pick the team in a hope that whoever plays will win the game for us. we look to turn it around and get back to winning ways.”
Rajasthan captain, Rahul Dravid, was extremely pleased to have won the first two games, and said: “It was a good start. We start as underdogs which is good for us. Good to win at home and hopefully we can get some wins away as well. I honestly thought we were 15 runs short. We played on slow tracks last year but this was a good wicket. It was a dream to get 3 of their top batsmen out so early.”
With two wins in two matches, the Rajasthan Royals will be looking to make it three straight when they play against the Mumbai Indians on April 11, while Kolkata, will look to get back on winning terms, when they clash with the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 10.