Karthik, Russell get the job done for KKR

Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a 25-run win over the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League Eliminator on Wednesday.

Dinesh Karthik (52) and Andre Russell (49*) were the driving forces in KKR's 25-run win over Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.   -  K. R. Deepak

Aided by a fine batting recovery scripted by captain Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell, Kolkata Knight Riders put up a sharp bowling performance to beat Rajasthan Royals by a healthy 25 runs in a low scoring affair in the Eliminator of the Indian Premier League, here at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

Being put in to bat first, KKR scored 169 for seven before restricting the former to 144 for four. KKR will now meet the loser of Qualifier 1, Sunrisers Hyderabad, in the Qualifier 2 at the same venue on Friday.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Royals made a breezy start as Ajinkya Rahane promoted himself up the order to open the innings and stitched up a 47-run partnership with Rahul Tripathi at the start. Rahane, on 14, survived an early scare  when he was given out leg-before to an appeal from leg-spinner Piyush Chawla in the third over. However, a successful DRS appeal came to his aid.

Chawla tasted success in the sixth over when he outfoxed Tripathi, who failed to tackle a googly and ended up spooning it to up to the former who accepted the catch on the follow through. Rahane and Sanju Samson kept their composure to forge a 62 run partnership off 54 balls for the second wicket.

READ: Russell’s innings clinched the tie for us, says Kuldeep

Rahane constructed a responsible 46 (41b, 4x4, 1x6) as Samson did a greater part of the hitting with two huge sixes and three boundaries. The two appeared to pick up the KKR off-spinner Sunil Narine, who conceded a costly 39 runs without any success in his quota of four overs.



Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla compensated for Narine's poor show by bowling tight and disciplined lines. The two did their job with fair amount of efficiency, picking up the three wickets that ended the resolve of Royal’s chase.

Yadav, who had wrecked the Royals in the last match of the league at the same venue with figures of four for 20, came to torment the visitor again as he dismissed Rahane in the 15th over, which virtually ended Royals' chase. Chawla picked up Samson (50) in the 17th over to ensure the elimination of the visitor, which dearly missed the presence of a finisher.

Inspired resurgence

Earlier, Dinesh Karthik (52) and Andre Russell (49*) inspired a resurgence as Knight Riders weathered a shaky start to post 169 for seven.

Narine, who had provided the pyrotechnics in the the PowerPlay in KKR’s previous three wins, faltered against spin. He gave the spectators reason to cheer by beginning with a boundary off the first delivery bowled by off-spinner K. Gowtham. But the celebrations came to naught immediately.

 

Gowtham, quick to read the designs of the batsman, shortened the length of his next delivery. The West Indian all-rounder danced down the track, only to be beaten by the spinning ball and wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen did the rest.

Robin Uthappa became Gowtham’s second victim in the third over when the bowler snared him with a cleverly tossed-up delivery. Uthappa, trying to work the ball towards leg, got a top-edge that was easily pouched by the bowler himself. When Nitish Rana surrendered his wicket in the fourth over, KKR was tottering at three for 24.

After Chris Lynn departed in the eighth over, with the score reading 51, captain Karthik started the recovery process in partnership with rookie Shubman Gill.

The two put on 55 runs off 38 balls as Karthik, showing good touch, found the boundary at regular intervals. Gill matched his skipper with some solid hitting. The two were most severe on leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, who gave away 20 runs in the 14th over.

After Gill (28) departed in the 15th over, Russell joined Karthik and some massive hits by the big West Indian helped Knight Riders to a challenging total.