IPL 2020: Kolkata Knight Riders fast bowlers set up 37-run win over Rajasthan Royals

An inspiring performance from its fast bowlers led Kolkata Knight Riders to a comprehensive 37-run win over Rajasthan Royals in Dubai on Wednesday.

Pat Cummins got the early breakthrough of Steve Smith.   -  BCCI/IPL

An inspiring performance from its fast bowlers led Kolkata Knight Riders to a comprehensive 37-run win over Rajasthan Royals in Dubai on Wednesday. Chasing 175, Rajasthan got off to a solid start with openers Jos Buttler and Steve Smith collecting 10 off Sunil Narine's first over. But Knight Riders fought back through Pat Cummins, who got an early breakthrough in the form of Smith - the right-hander backed away for a slog but got a thin edge en route to Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps. Shivam Mavi, then, snapped up the in-form Sanju Samson to leave Royals struggling.

Buttler was joined by Robin Uthappa and the two took Rajasthan to 39 for two after six overs. Cummins bowled thee overs in the Powerplay, conceding just 13 and picking up one wicket. The pressure eventually told on Buttler, who slashed hard at a Mavi delivery but ended up hitting it straight to Varun Chakravarthy at short third-man. Kamlesh Nagarkoti then had Uthappa and Riyan Parag caught in the same over as Rajasthan lost five for less than 50 on the board.

Royals' hero from Sharjah, Rahul Tewatia, failed to impress against KKR and fell to Varun Chakravarthy for a 10-ball 14. Rajasthan lost three more wickets for just 40 as Kolkata cruised past the finish line. Tom Curran remained unbeaten on 54.

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Earlier, Eoin Morgan's unbeaten 34 off 23 propelled Kolkata Knight Riders to a competitive 174/6, after an economical spell from Jofra Archer made run scoring difficult for the Dinesh Karthik-led side.

Kolkata Knight Riders openers Narine and Shubman Gill were off to a slow start after Steve Smith won the toss and inserted Kolkata in to bat. Archer and Ankit Rajpoot shared the new ball for Royals, with the latter cranking up the pace in the Powerplay. Archer had Narine hopping about at the crease, and the Caribbean got a reprieve in the third over when Robin Uthappa dropped a simple chance at mid-on off Jaydev Unadkat's bowling.

At the other end, Gill gave a glimpse pf his power-hitting when he lofted a full delivery from Rajpoot over long-on for six. He then slammed a short delivery for four off the third ball of Rajpoot's second over. Meanwhile, Narine collected a six and a four off Unadkat in the fifth over before the Saurashtra pacer knocked the middle and leg stump with a slower delivery.

Nitish Rana joined forces with Gill after Narine's dismissal with Smith keeping the batsmen guessing by using as many as four bowlers inside the first six overs. KKR accumulated 42 in the Powerplay. Shreyas Gopal, leg-break bowler, came into the attack in the seventh over and Gill despatched a half-tracker from the Karnataka leggie, over deep-midwicket for four. Rana then welcomed young Riyan Parag into the attack with a maximum over long-off.

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Rana and Gill kept the scorecard ticking with singles and twos, sandwiched between fours through heaves off over-pitched deliveries over mid-wicket and straight-drives. But just when Rana tried to up the scoring rate, he holed out off the last ball of Rahul Tewatia's first over. He fell for 22 with KKR on 82 for 2 at the halfway stage. Shortly after, when Gill perished for 47 off 34 - caught and bowled by Archer - Kolkata was in a spot of bother. Archer's second over went for just one run.

However, the joy was shortlived for Royals. Russell got stuck into Gopal in the 13th over, clubbing two sixes - one over cow corner and another over deep mid-wicket to take Kolkata past the 100-run mark. Archer, though, was in the middle of a probing spell and the Englishman added another victim to his tally, when he had KKR skipper Karthik caught behind with one that straightened just a little after pitching. Russell's dismissal off Rajpoot in the next over put Rajasthan in the box seat. Pat Cummins joined Morgan in the middle with the Royals tightening the screws on the Kolkata lower middle-order.

Pat Cummins and Morgan played a couple of delightful strokes off Archer to take some gloss off what was proving to be an excellent night with the ball for the Royals pace spearhead. He finished with two for 18; 14 runs coming off his final over. Cummins and Morgan had added 34 for the sixth wicket when Tom Curran had the Aussie fast bowler caught at deep backward square-leg, thanks to a valiant effort from Sanju Samson.