Rajasthan exit, Chennai through

Rajasthan exit, Chennai through

Defending champions bow to Kolkata Knight Riders in crucial tie

Rajasthan exit, Chennai through

After restricting the Royals to a modest 101 for nine, the Knight Riders recovered from a stunning top-order collapse to romp home with three balls to spare in a nerve-wracking contest which went down to the wire at Kingsmead.

All-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla turned out to be the hero for the Knight Riders with an unbeaten 48 off 46 balls after paceman Charl Langeveltd (3/15) had done the damage with the ball to ensure that his team finished the tournament on a winning note.

The Royals, who desperately needed a win to keep their semifinal hopes alive, paid a heavy price for a poor batting display which eventually saw them crashing out of the tournament. Naman Ojha was the top scorer with 22.

The Royals thus finished their IPL II engagements with 13 points from 14 matches while the Knight Riders, who were the first team in the competition to go out of the reckoning, completed their engagements with 7 points. Royals defeat also ensured a place in the semifinal for Chennai. While Delhi are already in semis, Chennai’s tally of 15 points can only be surpassed by two of the remaining three contenders.

The Knight Riders’ run chase began on a disastrous note as they lost five wickets for just 37 runs by the first 10 overs with most of their experienced batsmen back in the hut.

The left-handed Sourav Ganguly (0) was the first to depart, dismissed by Munaf Patel, and captain Brendon McCullum (9) joined him in the pavilion with young Amit Singh taking his wicket.
The in-form Brad Hodge (6), Yashpal Singh (6) and David Hussey (9) fell in quick succession to leave Kolkata struggling at 37 for five.

A mix-up which resulted in the run out of Shoaib Shaikh immediately after the strategy break compounded the misery for the Knight Riders.

But Shukla and Ajit Agarkar put on a crucial unbeaten 57-run partnership to steer the team home, much to the delight of their team-mates.

Earlier, the contest got off to a dramatic start with opener Naman Ojha clobbering Hodge for as many as 22 runs including three sixes in the very first over of the match. But the script changed very swiftly for the defending champions as South African paceman Langeveldt, playing his first match in the tournament, struck with his very first ball, scalping the other opener, Rob Quiney (1).

Quiney tried to pull the ball and only managed to top edge it to wicket-keeper Shaikh, who latched on to a simple catch.

After the high-scoring opening over, the Royals suddenly found themselves in the pits as they lost Ojha (22), Swapnil Asnodkar and Johan Botha (8) in quick succession to totter at 42 for four by the end of the fifth over.

Botha was promoted up the batting order to steady the rocking ship but he also could not survive long, being cleaned up by Agarkar with his very first ball. With wickets tumbling at regular intervals, it was left to Warne and Ravindra Jadeja to do the rescue act, but all they could do was help push the score past the 100-run mark.


RAJASTHAN ROYALS: Naman Ojha c Shaikh b Langeveldt 22, Rob Quiney c Shaikh b Langeveldt 1, Swapnil Asnodkar (run out) 4, Niraj Patel c Ganguly b Langeveldt 14, Johan Botha b Agarkar 8, Yusuf Pathan (run out) 9, Ravindra Jadeja b Sarkar 14, Tyron Henderson (run out) 0, Shane Warne b Agarkar 18, Munaf Patel (not out) 5, Amit Singh (not out) 1. Extras (LB-2, W-3) 5. Total (for 9 wkts, 20 overs) 101.
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-28, 3-28, 4-42, 5-59, 6-62, 7-62, 8-92, 9-99.
Bowling: Brad Hodge 1-0-22-0, Charl Langeveldt 4-0-15-3, Ashok Dinda 4-0-12-0, Ajit Agarkar 4-0-15-2, Sourav Sarkar 3-0-15-1, Laxmi Ratan Shukla 4-0-20-0.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Brendon McCullum lbw Amit 9, Sourav Ganguly c Jadeja b M Patel 0, Brad Hodge (run out) 6, Yashpal Singh c Quiney b M Patel 6, David Hussey c N Patel b Botha 9, Laxmi Ratan Shukla (not out) 48, Shoiab Shaikh (run out) 6, Ajit Agarkar (not out) 13. Extras (B-2, LB-1, W-1, NB-1) 5. Total (for 6 wkts, 19.3 overs) 102.
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-9, 3-21, 4-30, 5-37, 6-45.
Bowling: Munaf Patel 4-0-14-2, Amit Singh 3.3-0-19-1, Johan Botha 4-0-19-1, Shane Warne 4-0-24-0, Ravindra Jadeja 2-0-13-0, Tyron Henderson 2-0-10-0.

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