Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The Kolkata Knight Riders lost six wickets for two runs in their 10-run loss to the Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad.
Rajasthan spinner Pravin Tambe was the hero of the match as he took a hat-trick to extinguish Kolkata’s chances of chasing down the Royals’ target.
Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir would have been brooding over whether he made the right choice to bowl first after Rajasthan’s opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair amassed a 52-run partnership before Rahane was run out by West Indies spinner Sunil Narine for 30.
Nair and Sanju Samson kept the runs flowing with a 53-run partnership before Nair was stumped by Robin Uthappa off the bowling of Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
Nair’s solid knock of 44 came off 35 balls and included four boundaries and a six.
Samson ended up making 37 before he was caught by Manish Pandey at deep midwicket off the bowling of Narine.
Rajasthan skipper Shane Watson made a quickfire 31 before he was brilliantly caught by Suryakumar Yadav at long-on off the bowling of Narine.
Following Watson’s dismissal, Rajasthan lost Steven Smith and Stuart Binny in quick succession as they went on to score 170/6 off their 20 overs.
Vinay Kumar and Narine picked up two wickets apiece, while Al Hasan chipped in with one.
Chasing 171 to win, Kolkata got off to an outstanding start as Gambhir and Uthappa mustered a 121-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Gambhir was caught behind off the bowling of Watson.
Gambhir’s excellent knock of 54 came off 34 balls and included six boundaries and a six.
Uthappa was dismissed just two balls later when he was caught by Rajat Bhatia at deep square leg for 65, which came off 52 balls and included five boundaries and three sixes.
Watson struck again just two more deliveries later when he shattered Andre Russell’s stumps.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Things got a whole lot worse for Kolkata the very next over as Pandey was stumped by Samson off a wide.
Yusuf Pathan was dismissed the very next ball as he was caught and bowled for a golden duck.
Tambe completed his hat-trick when he trapped Netherlands batsman Ryan ten Doeschate lbw for a golden duck.
Following the flurry of wickets, Al Hasan tried to revive Kolkata’s innings and lead them across the finish line, but he could not complete the task as the Knight Riders fell 10 runs short of their target.
Al Hasan remained undefeated on 21 off 14 balls, which included one boundary and a six.
Watson and Tambe snapped up three wickets each.
Gambhir was still in shock at what he had just witnessed, and said: “It’s a hard pill to swallow. I have not seen this kind of cricket. We have to move on. We still have 8 games left. We still need to work on bowling as apart from Sunil and Shakib, others need to take the responsibility.”
Watson was ecstatic at having registered a come-from-behind victory, and said: “It was a nice way to close out a game. That’s what we talk about in our team set up. PT (Tambe) just keeps going and going, getting big batsmen out all the time. He deserves a pay rise and he is making my life easier for sure. Definitely few things went my way in that over. Hadn’t had much of an impact with the ball, so it was good to get those wickets.”
Tambe was named Man of the Match, and said: “The confidence the team gives me, I will never forget. This was my first hat-trick. At this level you have to keep the energy throughout.”