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IPL 2016 – KKR vs RPS: KKR Pip RPS In A Thriller

By on April 25, 2016

Kolkata Knight Riders 162 for 8 (Suryakumar 60, Yusuf 36, Bhatia 2-19) beat Rising Pune Supergiants 160 for 5 (Rahane 67, Smith 31) by two wickets…

In a battle of attrition in Match 20 of the 2016 Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders were almost trumped by Rising Pune Supergiants at their own game, but managed to get over the line with a straight six that came off the bat of tailender Umesh Yadav off the third ball of the final over, taking their tally of wins to four out of five matches, while MS Dhoni crashed to his fourth straight consecutive defeat as a skipper.

RPS went about defending a total of 160, made largely on the back of Ajinkya Rahane’s 67 and a late flourish from MS Dhoni, in a very frugal fashion containing KKR for most part of the innings, but handy contributions from the lower-order to go with gritty 49-ball 60-run knock from Suryakumar Yadav ensured that KKR were the winning team at the end of the night at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Sunday.

On a tricky wicket, a total of 160 was 10 runs more than what KKR camp would have been happy with, as admitted by Shakib Al Hasan during the innings break after Morne Morkel’s last over was taken for 17 runs by MS Dhoni. From a total that could have been called respectable, Dhoni made it a formidable one.

IPL 2016 - KKR vs RPS: Suryakumar Yadav

Credits: ESPN CricInfo

RPS had huffed and puffed their way to 100 for 3 in their first 15 overs, but in the last five, they managed to tonk 60 runs courtesy Albie Morkel (16 off nine balls) and Dhoni’s (23* off 12 balls) late dash.

Add to that the wickets of Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir – the most successful opening pair in 2016 IPL – inside the first three overs of the chase, and momentum seemed safe and sound with RPS. Young Suryakumar though stepped up and the designated vice-captain of the team did not disappoint his team.

After Albie had proved to be a more than handy replacement for an injured Kevin Pietersen removing Uthappa off the first ball of the innings and Gambhir to a run-out, Suryakumar did not allow the run-rate to dip as he took back-to-back to boundaries of Albie’s third over before launching Ravi Ashwin for a maximum over the long-on fence.

That was followed by a chip over mid-off off Thisara Perera in the fifth over and another maximum off Ashwin in the sixth. After the Powerplay overs, KKR were placed at 59 for 2.

Rajat Bhatia removed Shakib Al Hasan with an off-cutter, but Suryakumar got the company of Yusuf Pathan (36) and duo went about rebuilding the innings. There was enough purchase for the spinners from the wicket but the KKR duo managed to keep the scorecard ticking and Suryakumar reached is maiden IPL fifty off 39 balls.

Pathan started to threaten with a couple of hefty blows as they wrested the momentum in KKR’s favour. By the time the duo was separated, when Pathan was trapped in front by Bhatia in the 15th over for 36, KKR had scored 111 runs.

Despite the wicket of the big-hitting Pathan, KKR were ahead, albeit only just, but the departure of Suryakumar in the following over off Murugan Ashwin evened out the field.

From this point onwards it was anyone’s game and while Dhoni did marvellously well with his bowling changes and field placement, his fast bowlers were guilty of bowling length balls, a fact admitted by Dhoni after the match. Andre Russell helped himself to two sixes off Ankit Sharma to bring down the equation to 18 runs off two overs before perishing, and Rajagopal Sathish got KKR closer with maximum off Albie.

With seven needed of the last over Perera gave away two runs and proceeded to remove Piyush Chawla, but Umesh swung his bat correctly at a slower one that landed near the sight-screen to seal the game in his team’s favour with two wickets in hand.

Earlier, KKR bowlers had done a good job for the first 15 overs, before Dhoni’s late flourish powered RPS to 160 for 5. Ajinkya Rahane scored his third fifty of the season but he never got going as the KKR bowlers kept a tight check on the run-rate and did not allow anyone to cut loose till the death overs.

Rahane soldiered throughout his 52-ball knock and even though there were some trademark shots in the V from the Indian international, they were few and far between for RPS’ liking before a certain Sunil Narine had him one loft back to the bowler in 18th over for 67.

RPS seemed to have lost the plot up front itself, as, in a bid to preserve wickets they went into a shell scoring just 31 runs in the first six overs. Morne Morkel (3-0-30-0), Andre Russell (2-0-16-0) and Shakib Al Hasan (3-0-14-1) were tidy before Steve Smith with a 28-ball 31-run knock ensured that there were not many wobbles in the middle overs. Along with Rahane, Smith combined for a 56-run stand.

Morkel then injected some life in to RPS innings with two massive sixes towards the cow-corner and that was followed up by Dhoni who tonked Morkel for a six and two fours in the last over.

Source: Times of India

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