Kolkata Knight Riders registered a thumping 60-run victory over Rajasthan Royals to just stay alive for the Indian Premier League playoffs on Sunday.
A half century from skipper Eoin Morgan and crucial contributions from Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi steered Kolkata to a 191-7 in their last league stage match. Pat Cummins wreaked havoc in Rajasthan top order before they saved blushes to reach 131-9 in 20 overs.
The big victory lifted Kolkata to fourth from seventh spot with 14 points and a crushing victory for any team between Monday’s Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals can open up chances for Kolkata. Bangalore (-0.145) and Delhi (-0.159) are tied on 14 points with Kolkata.
Meanwhile, Sunrisers Hyderabad are also primed for the playoffs who have 12 points but with a healthier run rate and even a slim victory in tournament’s final league game on Tuesday will change the dynamics of the playoffs. The winners of Monday’s Bangalore versus Delhi game will play Mumbai Indians in the Qualifier.
In a must-win game, Kolkata lost Nitish Rana in the second ball before Gill and Tripathi paced the innings with a 72-run second wicket partnership. Gill made 36 off 24 with six boundaries, while Tripathi hit four fours and two sixes in his 34-ball 39.
Kolkata suffered a mini collapse after they lost next four wickets in a space of 26 runs before Morgan resurrected the innings with aggression.
Morgan shared 45 runs for the sixth wicket with Andre Russell (11-ball 25) and 40 runs for the seventh with Cummins (15) leading the charge with the bat. Morgan hit six sixes and five boundaries in his 35-ball 68 not out. Rahul Tewatia took 3-25 for Rajasthan and Kartik Tyagi snared 2-36.
Rajasthan were shell shocked when they lost their first five wickets for just 37 runs after Cummins took four wickets. Ben Stokes (18) was undone by a superb diving catch from Dinesh Kartik.
Tewatia avoided the embarrassment after he shared 43 runs with Buttler and 25 runs with Shreyas Gopal (23).
Buttler top scored with a 27-ball 35 and Tewatia made 31 off 27. Shivam Mavi and Varun Chakrwarthy also took two wickets each for Kolkata.