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IPL 2018 eliminator: Poor batting costs Rajasthan Royals as they suffer a 25-run loss against KKR

The likes of Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna and Kuldeep Yadav stepped up to restrict Rajasthan 144 for four after batsmen put on board 169 for seven.

Published: 24th May 2018 01:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th May 2018 06:59 AM   |  A+A-

match between KKR and Rajasthan Royals at Eden Garden in Kolkata on Wednesday. | PTI

Express News Service

KOLKATA: A Day before their Eliminator clash against Rajasthan Royals, batting coach Simon Katich had summed up what Dinesh Karthik has had to contend with after being anointed as Kolkata Knight Riders skipper this season.

“It’s always difficult when you come to a new franchise. You have to learn on your feet as to how your players go about it. Also, our game style is a bit different from what he’s been used to. He’s certainly learnt a lot in these seven weeks.”

They’ve been seven difficult weeks for Karthik, indeed. Losing half a pace battery and having to make do with options that are not even half as intimidating is not something that a new man at the helm would want to be saddled with.

Not to mention that this particular man’s best entries in his skippering CV are one Vijay Hazare Trophy and one Duleep Trophy win. But he did make do, firefighting for Kolkata with his bat (437 runs, average 62.43, strike rate 150.17) and his proactive captaincy. Karthik constantly backed his spinners to deliver up front and during the death overs, which they did.

He even reposed faith in a raw youngster by pushing him up the order, and Shubman Gill repaid his skipper with a fifty. And on Wednesday, yet another fire had to be put out. Showers on the previous day had ensured that Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal were getting the ball to grip.

The Sunil Narine punt had gone bust, Nitish Rana gifted his wicket to Jofra Archer, and Mr Consistent Robin Uthappa’s consistency had been nullified by Gowtham.

The scoreboard read 24/3 in 3.4 overs. For a man who had been tasked mostly with mop-up jobs this season, Karthik had quite a fire to put out. The capacity crowd at Eden Gardens was witness to Karthik thinking on his feet, very literally. With Chris Lynn also being done in by Gopal, Karthik and Gill decided to nurdle Kolkata out of trouble.

The stumper kept milking the gaps, cashing in on the occasional boundary ball. Only 10 shots yielded a blob, and 26 runs were earned through the use of his calves and hamstrings.

The amelioration in turn boosted Gill’s confidence, which made Gopal’s figures suffer. By the time Karthik departed for 52 in the 18th over, the big display at the venue screamed 135/6, a total which could have been a lot worse without his level-headedness.

That, in turn, gave Andre Russell enough leeway to become Andre “Muscle”, as he biffed a few en route an unbeaten 29-ball 45.

With 169/7 on a conducive pitch, Kolkata’s threatening spin triumvirate had been given more than enough for mounting a fightback. Rajasthan did make a fist of it through skipper Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson.

But despite Narine having an off day, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla combined during the middle overs to suffocate the opposition, rendering them 24 runs short. Kolkata lived to fight another day, this time against SunRisers Hyderabad.

Rahulravi@newindianexpress.com



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