Rajasthan Royals were inflicted their first defeat of this season’s Indian Premier League after the tournament’s higest total chasers lost to Kolkata Knight Riders by 37 runs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Rajasthan came into the match after they chased down an improbable 224-run target against Kings XI Punjab in their second match on Sunday. On Wednesday, Steven Smith used seven bowlers to restrict Kolkata to 172-6 for a total that was expected to be a casual walk in the park.
But Kolkata seamers bowled superbly to destroy Rajasthan top and middle order before they made just 137-9 in 20 overs. Rajasthan, so far, were the only unbeaten team in the tournament following Kolkata’s second victory.
Aussie Pat Cummins gave the breakthrough for Kolkata after he removed his national team skipper Smith (three) in the second over. Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti then shared four wickets between them reducing Rajasthan to 42-5 inside eight overs.
Rajasthan once again pinned their hopes on Rahul Tewatia, the hero of Sunday’s historic IPL chase, but the allrounder fell for just 14 runs to Varun Chakravarthy. A big defeat was inevitable after Rajasthan lost Shreyas Gopal and Jofra Archer in quick succession.
Tom Curran avoided a humiliation for Rajasthan as the Englishman scored an unbeaten half century with a 36-ball 54. Curran hit Sunil Narine for three sixes in the penultimate over to make sure they don’t better Royal Challengers Bangalore’s tournament low total of 109.
Earlier, Sunil Narine (15) and Shubman Gill began with a 36-run partnership for Kolkata. Gill had carried the bat to victory in Kolkata’s previous match and once again top scored for the two-time champions making a 34-ball 47 with five boundaries and a six.
England captain Eoin Morgan pushed Kolkata to a challenging total making a 23-ball 34 with two sixes and a four. Andre Russell (24 off 14) and Nitish Rana (22 off 17) also contributed to Kolkata total.