Knight Riders bow to Royals

Knight Riders bow to Royals

Hodge, Trivedi shine as Rajasthan post 19-run win over defending champions

Knight Riders bow to Royals

Rajasthan Royals maintained their impeccable home-record against Kolkata Knight Riders, outclassing the defending champions by 19 runs to register their second successive victory in the Indian Premier League here on Monday.

Defending a total of 144, the Royals’ pace attack performed as a unit to bowl out KKR for 125 in 19 overs.

Only Eoin Morgan resisted the Royals’ attack, scoring a gutsy 51 off 38 balls (3x4, 3x6) but along with his dismissal went the faintest hopes of a victory Kolkata might have nursed on the night.

Royals’ ploy of playing on a seaming track at the Sawai Man Singh worked wonderfully well as Siddharth Trivedi (3/23) and young unheralded Jharkhand boy Rahul Shukla (2/28) ran through the top-half of the opposition.

Kevon Cooper then bowled brilliantly at the death to polish off the tail with figures of 3/15.

Captain Gautam Gambhir gave KKR a bright start, hammering S Sreesanth for a boundary and a huge six over deep square leg to get 14 runs from the opening over. But Kolkata couldn’t sustain their flourish.

Shukla surprised one and all as he worked up lively pace to knock back Manvinder Bisla’s (1) stumps and then got one to kick up from short of length as Jacques Kallis (0) edged one to Dishant Yagnik.

Manoj Tiwary (14) was trapped leg before in Trivedi’s very first over as KKR were reduced to 40 for three. Gambhir (22) was also snuffed out by Trivedi with wicket-keeper Yagnik pulling off an acrobatic catch and the writing was on the wall for Kolkata.

Yusuf Pathan’s terrible run in the KKR shirt continued as he gave catching practice to Yagnik, who got his third catch off Cooper’s delivery.

Half the Kolkata team was back in the hut with the score less than 50.

Dream night

Trivedi’s dream night continued as Laxmi Ratan Shukla holed out in the deep and the chase seemed to hit dead end before Morgan briefly brought the game to life. But it was soon evident that he was fighting a lost cause.

Earlier, Brad Hodge used all his experience in the shortest format to good effect as he propelled Royals to a decent total. Hodge smashed 46 off 31 balls with seven boundaries as Royals got 38 runs in the last three overs after KKR bowlers had maintained discipline for the better part of the 17 overs. Ajinkya Rahane’s 36 (3x4, 1x6) was the only other significant contribution. Sunil Narine had figures of two for 28 in four overs.

Narine’s figures were somewhat damaged by Hodge and left-handed keeper-batsman Yagnik (16) who clobbed him for 18 runs in the penultimate over.

Shane Watson came into the Royals’ side to open the innings but he made just five before being dismissed by Brett Lee. Rahane and skipper Rahul Dravid then added 35 runs for the second wicket before Dravid (17) fell to Rajat Bhatia. Stuart Binny (14, 3x4) played a brief cameo before Hodge provided the much-needed thrust to the innings.

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