KKR were put into bat by Steve Smith and out came makeshift T20 opener Sunil Narine with young sensation Shubhman Gill. Narine started with his usual approach of throwing his bat at everything, it fetched him three boundaries before he had to make the walk back to the pavilion. Shubhman Gill picked up from where he had left in the last game as he was looking at his sublime best. Along with Nitish Rana, both the players played some exquisite shots, with Gill in particular looking very classy against the leggie Shreyas Gopal.
Nitish got out trying to loft Tewatia and that brought in Dre Russ at number four. And then we got to witness one of the most anticipated matchups - Archer vs Russell. Archer first got rid of the well set Gill and then bowled a peach of a delivery to dismiss KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik. Russell started smashing the bowlers other than Archer and it looked like we were set for a Russell boundary fest. Archer on the other hand, had figures of 3-0-4-2 at the end of 14 overs. Russell however, lost his wicket against the run of play and that derailed KKR a bit. Morgan and Pat Cummins batted responsibly by taking calculated risks as Kolkata finished at a respectable 174-6.
Rajasthan would have fancied themselves to chase 175 given the fact they had crossed 200 in both of their matches prior to this one. But a different pitch brought different fortune as they lost an uneasy Smith to Cummins. Samson threw his wicket away as RR found themselves in troubled waters early on. Buttler played a few shots but gave in to the pressure created by Cummins and Mavi as he was caught by Chakravarthy off Mavi. It was now the turn of Nagarkoti to shine as he rattled RR by picking up Uthappa and Parag inside 4 balls to leave them reeling at 43-5.
Tewatia and Curran tried to rebuild the innings, but with 114 required off 10 overs with half the side back in the hut, they had to go for the big hits. Tewatia hoped to pull off his last match heroics, but couldn’t read a googly off Chakravarthy and perished. After that, it was just a matter of time before the match got over as the lower order batsmen came and went, with Curran only staying till the end with a gritty 50*, as his team lost the game by 37 runs.
-- Jatin Shad