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



The hallmark of a bad side is that it is forever looking for momentum and never has a settled core of players which is good enough to take it the distance. In this IPL season so far Kolkata Knight Riders have contrived to lose matches from positions where it should have closed out the game and is yet to determine who its best 11 players are. Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, have been able to identify players who can take them home in crucial encounters and more importantly stuck with them. In the end this quality of Rajasthan Royals came to the fore when they clinched a tight game at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera – which is also their new home – on May 5, 2014.

Team composition: For this match, both the sides made some changes to their playing elevens from the previous games. Rajasthan left out Dhawal Kulkarni and Kane Richardson and welcomed Tim Southee and Rahul Tewatia, a leg spinner. Kolkata also made some changes to the team by dropping Piyush Chawla and Jacques Kallis and bringing in Ryan ten Doeschate and Umesh Yadav.

Batting: The Knight Riders won the toss and opted to field, which was a strange decision given the fact that most of their batsmen had been struggling for runs and their main weapon were their spinners, who would have been more effective in the later stages of the game. The Royals got to a competitive total of 170 for 6 from their allotted overs. Karun Nair, after the previous game, was the chief contributor with 44 from 35 balls. Ajinkya Rahane (30 from 22 balls), Sanju Samson (37 from 31 balls) and captain Shane Watson (31 from 20 balls) all played stroke filled cameos to boost the Royals total significantly.

Chasing a tough total the Knight Riders looked perfectly suited to attain success after several matches. Robin Uthappa (65 from 52 balls) and Gautam Gambhir (54 from 34 balls) got the team off to a magnificent start with a stand of 121 runs. However, the remaining batsmen came a cropper and the team’s march was halted at 160 for 8 in the end.

Bowling: For KKR, Sunil Narine was once again the standout performer with 2 for 28 in his 4 overs. Vinay Kumar bowled decently with 2 for 42 in his quota and Shakib al Hasan picked up 1 for 25. However, the remaining bowlers – ten Doeschate, Andre Russell and Yadav were all expensive and also unable to pick up wickets. In the final analysis this proved to be costly for the Kolkata team.

Shane Watson, who opened the bowling for RR was their best bowler with 3 for 21 in 4 overs and he received some splendid assistance from Tambe who picked up a hat trick and finished with 3 for 26 in the end. It was basically their exceptional performance that broke the back of KKR’s chase. Faulkner also bowled economically – none for 27 in 4 overs but Southee, Tewatia and Rajat Bhatia were very expensive.

Where do the teams go from here?

Rajasthan Royals have played pretty well so far and would like to continue performing this well and even better, if possible, in the games ahead. However, one feels that with their places in the play offs almost assured they should give some game time to players such as Unmukt Chand, Ankush Bains, Kevon Cooper and Ben Cutting so that just in case they needed these players to come and perform in a crunch game they shall be able to do so.

Kolkata Knight Riders seem to sort out their batting order and keep out non performers such as Yusuf Pathan They should also find some space for quality cricketers such as Kallis, Morkel and Pat Cummins. Gambhir has so far tried attacking with his spinners and failed miserably. May be, it won’t be such a bad ploy to try out the fast bowlers. Young bowlers like Sayan Mondal, Kuldeep Yadav and Veer Pratap Singh could also be given some chances to see how they can cope with the pressures of IPL.