Rajasthan Royals’ Chris Morris celebrates after taking the wicket of Andre Russell of Kolkata Knight Riders during the IPL match. Courtesy: IPL
Chris Morris’s four-wicket haul and a composed innings from skipper Sanju Samson (42 not out off 41 balls) helped Rajasthan Royals (RR) seal a six-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an Indian Premier League match on Saturday.
The win, secured with seven balls to spare, put RR in sixth place in the points table while Kolkata were pushed to the bottom.
Morris’s haul, in which he picked power-hitters Andre Russell, Pat Cummins and Dinesh Karthik, helped RR restrict Kolkata to 133/9 in 20 overs.
RR then chased it with the help of an unbeaten 34-run partnership for fifth wicket between Samson and David Miller (24 off 23 balls).
Though RR opener Jos Buttler failed again, Yashasvi Jaiswal, who came in for Manan Vohra, and Shivam Dube chipped in with identical scores of 22.
Russell, Cummins and Karthik had played explosive innings in the last match against Chennai Super Kings to take their side to 202 from 31/5. But on Saturday, they just couldn’t get going. All three of them were caught while trying to hit the South African over the boundary.
Morris, who was bought for Rs 16.25 crore ahead of this season by RR to become the most expensive player in IPL history, returned with figures of four for 23 in four overs. He was ably supported by left-arm pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman, who took one for 22.
Saurashtra pace bowling duo Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya who opened the bowling were also impressive with the senior pro taking 1/25 and the junior 1/31 as Kolkata could never find their bearings.
Only Rahul Tripathi (36 off 26 balls) and Dinesh Karthik (25 off 24 balls) put up some decent batting performances to help their side get to their eventual total. Morris’s bowling at the death hurt Kolkata the most.
At 117/5 and 15 balls to go, Kolkata had a chance to get to 150 with hard-hitters Russell, Karthik and Cummins still there.
But Morris got rid of Russell and Karthik in one over, his third, and then returned to remove Cummins in the last over.
Earlier in their innings, Kolkata kept losing wickets at regular intervals and found scoring tough. They were reduced to 61/4 just after 10 overs.
Kolkata captain Morgan criticised his batsmen for not showing intent after his team lost to Rajasthan.
Saturday’s loss is the fourth loss in five matches for Kolkata this season and it has put them at the bottom of the points table.
“The batting let us down. We lacked a lot of intent throughout the whole innings. We were behind the game right from the start. Didn’t put the bowlers under enough pressure,” said Kolkata’s captain Morgan who himself is struggling for runs and was run out without facing a ball on Saturday.
“We were probably 40 runs short which is a lot in a T20 game. The wicket today wasn’t as good as it has been here at the Wankhede. That was a challenge in itself. Every time we tried taking an attacking option, we lost a wicket. It left us a lot to do at the back-end, which we didn’t obviously do,” he added and admitted that RR adapted to the pitch much better.
Kolkata head coach Brendon McCullum too said that his team’s batsmen lacked intent.
“They have to play with more intent with the bat at the start,” said McCullum.
Rajasthan Royals pace bowler Morris, who claimed four wickets for 23 runs on Saturday, said he was lucky to have got Kolkata Knight Riders’ Andre Russell early before the West Indian could inflict damage with the bat.
Morris took the key wickets of Dinesh Karthik, Russell and Pat Cummins. The Kolkata trio had given a scare to Chennai Super Kings bowlers in the last match as they took the total to 202 from 31/5.
However, all three failed on Saturday night at the Wankhede Stadium as Morris had them caught in the deep. Morris was happy that his side rebounded after poor outing in the last match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) where they couldn’t take a single wicket.