Shakib Al Hasan played a key role in helping Kolkata get the win
The Kolkata Knight Riders displayed an all-round team performance as they completely broke down the Rajasthan Royals to claim a five wicket victory.
The Royals, who had been one of the top teams to this point, were no match for the brilliant effort displayed by the Knight Riders.
Rajasthan captain, Rahul Dravid won the toss and chose to bat first, while Kolkata captain, Gautam Gambhir stated that he would have also chosen to bat first if he had won the toss, due to the dryness of the pitch.
The Rajasthan Royals failed to post a huge score batting first, much to the dismay of captain Dravid, who made 28 runs off 27 balls, during which he hit five boundaries.
Shreevats Goswami and Owais Shah put together a last minute 59 run partnership to help Rajasthan register a final score of 131.
Goswami made 24 runs from 22 balls, hitting one boundary and six, while Shah top-scored with 31 runs off 33 deliveries, in which he smacked three boundaries.
Kolkata’s spinning duo of Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan were the only bowlers to take any wickets.
Al Hasan took three wickets, while Narine chipped in with one of his own.
Al Hasan, was awarded the Man of the Match award for his excellent bowling and batting display, and said: “Love playing here, the early wickets boosted me, settled my nerves down. I felt this was a pitch where I needed to bowl well on this pitch for my time and did that. We needed a run a ball here and then a boundary here and there and we did just that to win the game.”
Chasing a target of 132 to win, all of Kolkata’s top order batsmen posted decent scores, as the Knight Riders ended the game with four balls to spare.
Opener Jacques Kallis top-scored with 31 runs from 38 balls, during which he cracked three boundaries, while wicketkeeper Manvinder Bisla made 29 runs off 29 balls, also hitting three boundaries, and Manoj Tiwary’s 24 runs from 18 balls, which included a boundary and a six ensured the victory for Kolkata.
Johan Botha, Amit Singh, Brad Hogg and Ashok Menaria all picked up one wicket each in the tough challenge of trying to defend Rajasthan’s total of 131.
Rajasthan captain, Rahul Dravid was looking to put the tough loss behind him, and said: “We always knew it was a competitive score, but they built up a partnership after an early wicket. We knew we had to go hard up front and set up a base, the experience to play on these tracks will help the youngsters. Not comfortable losing two in a row, hope to bounce back soon.”
Kolkata captain, Gautam Gambhir was extremely pleased with his team’s performance, and said: “Always knew 120-125 will be a good, but we had the batting to chase it down. They started well but Shakib did well along with Narine and later the batsmen did well. Narine is a mystery bowler, difficult to play, the way he bowled the 19th over was tremendous.”
Kolkata will look to continue their amazing all-round team play against the Kings XI Punjab on April 15, while Rajasthan will hope to avoid losing three games in a row when they square off against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on the same day as well.