Kolkata, May 23 (PTI) Skipper Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell revived Kolkata Knight Riders with magnificent batting as the hosts recovered from a disastrous start to post a challenging 169 for seven against Rajasthan Royals in the IPL Eliminator, here today.
Sent in, Kolkata had their worst start of the season with K Gowtham (2/15 in three overs) and Jofra Archer (2/33) reducing them to 46/3 inside the powerplay but Karthik continued his sublime form to lead them to safety with a 38-ball 52, containing four fours and two sixes.
After Karthik’s departure, Russell came up with his destructive 29-ball unbeaten 49, studded with three boundaries and five sixes.
The sixes however were a rarity in the first half of Kolkata innings and it was only in the 14th over Shubman Gill hit the first shot over the ropes in his crucial fifth wicket partnership with Karthik.
Karthik and Gill added 55 runs in 38 balls as the Under-19 World Cup winning youngster Gill impressed with his stroke-making skills en route his 17-ball 28 (3×4, 1×6).
From being 63 for 4 midway into the innings, Kolkata brilliantly stepped on the gas in the second-half, scoring 106 runs in the last 10 overs with Russell in charge of the proceedings.
Jaydev Unadkat, who leaked 33 runs from his two overs, was a big letdown from Rajasthan’s perspective as the Ajinkya Rahane-led side could not choke the hosts despite a a sound start.
Starting the proceedings for Rajasthan, K Gowtham left Kolkata in tatters with a twin blow of Sunil Narine (four) and Robin Uthappa (three) in his first two overs before Barbadian pacer ensured their lowest powerplay score of the season — 46/3 — dismissing Nitish Rana (3).
Narine smashed Gowtham’s through covers for a boundary to start off the proceedings in his signature style but the off-spinner fired in a quicker one next up and the Trinidadian was beaten and stumped in the second ball.
In the first ball of his next over Gowtham plucked a smart return catch off Robin Uthappa’s top-edge for a soft dismissal while Archer reduced Kolkata to 24/3 inside four overs.
There was more misery in store for Kolkata as opener as an under-pressure Chris Lynn did not survive long as their top four batsmen folded for 51 in eight overs.
Just when their ship looked to sink in front of a shell-shocked capacity Eden crowd, Karthik continued to his sublime form and found a fine ally in Gill to revive their innings.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.