The Kolkata Knight Riders’ players celebrate their win against the Rajasthan Royals at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. Courtesy: Twitter
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
A Shivam Mavi-led bowling attack put up a sublime performance as resilient Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) defended 174 successfully against an underwhelming Rajasthan Royals to emerge winners by 37 runs in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match in Dubai on Wednesday.
A colourless Rajasthan, which only in their last match had pulled off a miraculous win against Kings XI Punjab at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, did not even look a pale shadow of the team that had completed a record chase of 223.
Mavi returned with figures of 2-20 off his four overs to steer Kolkata to a well-deserved victory. He was well supported by Kamlesh Nagarkoti (2-13) and mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy (2-25).
An overconfident Rajasthan got off to a faltering start, losing captain Steve Smith with just 15 runs on the board in two overs.
Smith looked in a hurry to finish off things early before falling to the fellow countryman Pat Cummins. The lanky Australian pacer had him caught by Karthik off the fourth delivery of his first over to trigger a dramatic collapse.
After the departure of Smith, Rajasthan lost four wickets in quick succession to be reduced to 42/5. Mavi got rid of danger man Sanju Samson, who has been the mainstay of Rajasthan batting, amassing 167 runs in three innings with the help of two fifties at an average of 55.
Buttler, who is yet to find his golden touch, again failed to convert his start into a big innings and was caught by Varun off Mavi.
Robin Uthappa once again failed with the bat as Nagarkoti got rid of him and Riyan Parag within a space of three deliveries to leave Rajasthan in tatters.
Last match hero Rahul Tewatia (14), who became an overnight star after hitting Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in an over, failed to recreate the same magic. His stumps were uprooted by Varun, who heaped more misery on a hapless Rajasthan. Varun also sent back Archer to all but end the hopes of Rajasthan.
Sam Curran waged a lone battle with an unbeaten 54 but never did pose any serious threat to Kolkata.
Earlier, Shubman Gill and Sunil Narine gave Kolkata a decent start, adding 36 runs for the first wicket in five overs.
Narine, who is struggling with the bat, did not look comfortable in this innings as well, taking 14 deliveries to score 15 runs. Unadkat rattled his stumps to break the dangerous looking opening partnership.
Gill shared another 46-run partnership with Nitish Rana (22) for the second wicket and took the score to 82/2 in 10 overs.
Rana, who was caught by Parag off the bowling of Tewatia, has not done anything significant yet. In his three innings, his scores have been 24, 26 and 22 with him unable to convert his starts into big scores.
Andre Russell smashed a quickfire 14-ball 24 to spur the run rate before being caught by Unadkat off Rajpoot.
Dinesh Karthik's bad form with the bat continued as he again failed to deliver. Karthik was beaten by the pace of England’s all-rounder Jofra Archer to be caught behind the wickets by an agile Buttler.
A very dependable Morgan came into bat at number six with their top five batsmen back in the pavilion. He smashed 34 off 23 deliveries and shared a partnership of 34 runs with Pat Cummins, steering Kolkata to a fighting total of 174/6.
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