IPL 2014 – Review of match between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders

Rajasthan Royals Vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Rajasthan Royals Vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Rajasthan Royals Vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Rajasthan Royals Vs Kolkata Knight Riders

The IPL rules dictate that there shall always be a winner, no matter what. So on April 29, Rajasthan Royals collided against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi and the match went into a super over following a tie and again when it was tied at that stage, Rajasthan was declared the winner because its batsmen had hit a greater number of boundaries. It is said that in football, a tiebreaker win does not always imply that the winner has played well. However, here the adage may not apply thanks to some smart thinking by Steven Smith, who knew that this team was already ahead on boundary count and would thus win the match even if the match was tied in the super over. So all he needed was to ensure that the team at least achieved the total set before them in the super over.

Team composition: Rajasthan made just one change to the team that won against Bangalore on April 26. They brought in James Faulkner and left out Tim Southee. Kolkata, which had lost its last game to Punjab, made a number of changes in the side that lost against Punjab. They left out Chris Lynn, Yusuf Pathan and Umesh Yadav and brought in Shakib Al-Hasan, Manvinder Bisla and R. Vinay Kumar.

Batting: The Royals won the toss and opted to bat first. They got to a competitive 152 for 5, thanks largely to the efforts of Ajinkya Rahane who scored 72 from 59 balls. Down the order Watson played a handy knock to assist Rahane to some extent. Knight Riders were able to get up to that point owing to Gambhir who ground out a 45 from 44 balls, Suryakumar Yadav (31 from 19) and Shakib (29 from 18).

Bowling: When it was KKR’s turn to bowl, the returning Vinay Kumar performed the best with 2 for 30. Shakib also had a decent match with the ball (1 for 23) and Morkel picked up a wicket but was too expensive with 40 runs from his full quota. Narine was economical.

For RR, Faulkner was the best bowler on view with 3 for 11 in 2 overs. It was basically his spell that turned the match on its head. Praveen Tambe (2 for 31), Kane Richardson (1 for 28) and Rajat Bhatia (1 for 31) supported him well.

Where do the teams go from here?

Rajasthan Royals would be more or less happy with how they have performed in the UAE leg of the tournament and now that they have arrived at a settled combination they shall look to make sure that they can progress to the qualifiers. The fact that Watson is back to bowling will add to the plenty of allround options at their disposal.

Kolkata Knight Riders have lost more matches than they have won in the UAE. They could have won the games against Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals with a bit more luck and lost the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore but for that tremendous catch by Chris Lynn. So, luck should not be blamed here.

They have, more or less, found their first team and should try and stick with it. However, the continued tendency of Morne Morkel to leak runs is proving to be costly for the team – it did against Delhi as it did against Rajasthan. So they will have to look at that area and consider other options – Umesh Yadav did not perform too badly against Kings XI Punjab the other day. They also have Pat Cummins and Andre Russell in the team. The tournament will now enter the business end from May 2 and teams that are languishing till now – like the KKR is – will have to find their best combination so that they can do better than before.