A magnificent unbeaten 104 off 59 balls from Shane Watson ensured that the Royals virtually secured their place in the 2015 IPL Playoffs. Chasing 200, Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell brought the Knight Riders painfully close. However, it was not meant to be as they lost by 9 runs to the Rajasthan Royals.
Shane Watson lights up Brabourne stadium
Realising that nothing less than a win would help their cause, the Royals began in earnest. Playing at their adopted home, the openers got off to a good start. Shane Watson in particular, was at his menacing best. The Aussie all-rounder took a particular liking to Azhar Mahmood. The former Pakistani international who was making his first appearance in the 2015 edition of the IPL was taken to the cleaners.
Ajinkya Rahane’s innings of 37 came to an abrupt end as he was run out following a comedy of errors. Steven Smith’s poor run continued as he was dismissed for 14. Sanju Samson, Deepak Hooda and James Faulkner also followed suit and were dismissed for single digit scores but on this night, Watson proved adequate even as the lone warrior in the Rajasthan Royals’ cause. His innings of 104 from 59 deliveries included 9 boundaries and 5 sixes.
Thus, courtesy Shane Watson’s heroics, the Royals finished off on a massive 199/6.
Uthappa and Gambhir fall early
Chasing a massive target on a very good batting surface, Robin Uthappa (14) and Gautam Gambhir (1) fell early on in the chase. Dhawal Kulkarni was at his best as he was successful in getting the ball to swing off the surface. An off colour Manish Pandey fell shortly after for a run-a-ball 21.
Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell keep KKR hopes alive
Yusuf Pathan proved his worth with a well made 35 ball 44. His innings included 5 boundaries and a six before eventually being dismissed by Shane Watson. He was well supported by the hard-hitting Andre Russell at the other end. The West Indian’s more aggressive approach ensured a massive change in the run rate. The Jamaican slammed a whopping 37 off just 20 balls. Barinder Sran, the new inductee into the Rajasthan Royals squad was given an appropriate reception. The youngster conceded 35 runs in just 3 overs as he was the target for many of the KKR batsmen.
Late burst from Umesh Yadav keeps KKR in the hunt
Umesh Yadav’s (24*) late surge towards the end saw the Kolkata Knight Riders with a mathematical possibility of a win. However, careless shots from Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel and Azhar Mahmood saw the Knight Riders fall short by 9 runs.
Rajasthan Royals: 199/6 in 20 overs ( Shane Watson 104*, Andre Russell 3/32)
Kolkata Knight Riders: 190/9 in 20 overs ( Yusuf Patha 44, Chris Morris 4/23)