Kolkata eliminate Rajasthan with 25-run win in IPL
KOLKATA: Kolkata Knight Riders ended Rajasthan Royals' run in the Indian Premier League with a 25-run victory in the Eliminator on Wednesday.
Kolkata will now host Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday in Qualifier 2 and the winner will take on Chennai Super Kings in the final on Sunday in Mumbai.
Rajasthan had paced its chase nicely and was 87-1 by the halfway mark before it collapsed against Kolkata's seamers and spinners to be restricted at 144-4.
"We were initially under the pump, so good on us to come back," said Kolkata captain Dinesh Karthik, who earlier led his team to 169-7 with a gritty 52. "In these kinds of games the score doesn't matter, it's about believing. The par scores don't matter, but just how much you believe. The bowlers have picked their game and have bowled some good balls."
Captain Ajinkya Rahane (46), who successfully overturned an lbw decision against him in legspinner Piyush Chawla's (2-24) first over, and Rahul Tripathi (20) provided a solid start of 47 runs off 31 balls.
But Chawla broke the stand in his second over when he had Tripathi caught off his own bowling off a leading edge.
Sanju Samson hit a gritty 50 off 38 balls and featured in a 62-run stand with Rahane but Kolkata continued to execute pressure through its spinners on a turning wicket at Eden Gardens.
Rahane mistimed a sweep off leftarm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and offered a simple return catch and Samson holed out in the deep in the 17th over of Chawla.
Seamer Prasidh Krishna (1-28) then strangled the fragile looking middle order by giving away just 11 runs in his last two overs as Rajasthan bowed out of the tournament in its comeback to the IPL after two years.
Earlier, after being put in to bat, Kolkata was bailed out by Karthik's second half century of the season off 38 balls and a blazing 49 off just 25 balls by big hitter Andre Russell.
Krishnappa Gowtham (2-15) dismissed Sunil Narine off the second ball before Robin Uthappa got a leading edge in offspinner's second over.
Kolkata stuttered at 51-4 in eight overs after it also lost Chris Lynn (18) and Nitish Rana (3).
But young Shubman Gill played a little cameo of 28 off 17 balls and was involved in a 55-run stand with Karthik before Russell provided a perfect finish by smashing five sixes and three fours.
"When you start your chase so well, you generally win the game, but Kolkata bowled really well and that's disappointed us," Rahane said. "With eight wickets in hand and five overs to go, we should've gotten the job done. Throughout the season, our bowlers have been great, but we need to improve on our batting for next season."