To the delight of his team, Sanju Samson took responsibility after two first wickets. The bowlers had prepared the Rajasthan Royals well, limiting the Kolkata Knight Riders to 133/9. After that it took common sense at the bat, which the Royals skipper did. A six-wicket win with seven balls remaining ended a good night for the Rajasthan-based franchise, as KKR suffered their fourth straight loss.
Bowlers set up Royals
The KKR’s innings were only nine fours and five sixes, attesting to the Royals’ bowling discipline. Despite an abandoned take, the commissioning was also excellent.
Credit to Royals planning which allowed bowlers to settle in. The Royals skipper had a sweeper cover displayed from the start, which in addition to providing adequate protection for Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya in Powerplay, somewhat crippled Nitish Rana – the wicket square is his favorite area against the leaders – stroke play too.
It wasn’t Shubman Gill’s party. KKR’s opener struggled to start and was abandoned in six before a direct blow from Jos Buttler brought him out of his misery. To make matters worse, Gill dropped Yashasvi Jaiswal to zero when the Royals hit.
For the Royals, Morris was the most successful bowler at 4/23 and took out the big hitters – Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik and Pat Cummins. But beyond the scoreboard, Mustafizur Rahman (1/22) probably made a more significant contribution. The left arm crimper guessed the pace of the right step, brilliantly disguised his knives, and managed to get some lateral movement even for his slower deliveries. Mustafizur strangled KKR as they looked to raise the stake. And Morris took advantage of it.
Perhaps a first-rate meltdown in the last game weighed heavily on KKR, as they seemed wary of Powerplay. 25/1 in the first six overs brought them back. It wasn’t until Rahul Tripathi got into the crease that his team seemed to be trying to break the chains.
Tripathi, however, would regret his call that brought out his captain. A bowler’s back had ricocheted off Morgan’s bat on the stumps on the non-attacking side and there had never been a single one. But Tripathi called before repenting. Morgan had then reached no man’s land.
Inexplicably, KKR sent Sunil Narine as a pinch hitter past Russell and Cummins – the two players who had the momentum from the previous game. The only reason for Narine’s promotion could be that the team management wanted to continue with a left-right combination, but the decision backfired.
From the Royals’ perspective it was important to eliminate Russell early and arriving in 16th he still had quite a bit of time to wreak havoc. But Morris passed him. Russell positioned himself to hit a wide yorker, but got a nose-up delivery near the boulder hole that prevented a free swing. A long take ensued.
Samson puts the finishing touches
He had started with a century in this IPL before regressing in his customary mode of soft layoffs. It even annoyed Sunil Gavaskar. On Saturday, however, Samson made sure the bowler’s efforts were not wasted.
Buttler appeared to be shaken after being punched on the helmet by a Cummins bouncer and fell cheap. Jaiswal followed suit. Shivam Dube and Rahul Tewatia went out trying to play adventurous moves, while their job was to play the second violin.
But Samson was an app personified and when he plays like that he looks like a magnificent drummer. A draw for a six on a Cummins delivery was the highlight of the game.