After a string of embarrassing defeats, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) finally tasted victory, only for the second time in the ongoing IPL 2021, by defeating the Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Monday at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad. The KKR also managed to move up on the points table after the five-wicket win. And at the helm of it all was Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan.
Winning the toss earlier in the day, Morgan decided to bowl first, and out Punjab batsmen under pressure from the start. Kings captain KL Rahul departed after scoring 19 runs off 20 deliveries. While fans pinned their hopes on Chris Gayle, he left them heartbroken after scoring a duck. Although Mayank Agarwal tried to build partnerships, he fell for 31. Thanks to some big hitting in the final overs by Chris Jordan, who was playing his first match of the tournament, PBKS could put 123 on the board.
Chasing a target of 124, the Knights suffered some severe setbacks right at the beginning of their innings. Losing not one but three wickets with just 17 runs on board, the KKR’s chances looked quite bleak. However, Morgan came to his team’s rescue as he played a responsible knock of 47 runs off 40 balls to take his team over the winning line, with support from Rahul Tripathi who scored 41 runs.
Jadeja, one man army!
Ravindra Jadeja (62 off 28 balls) is India’s best finisher as Chennai Super Kings raced away to a 69-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday. CSK, after an initial surge, looked set to settle for something in the 160-range when the in-form RCB medium-pacer Harshal Patel came on to bowl the last over. He had given 14 runs off his first three and the odds were in his favour to finish an impressive spell. But all that turned around in a space of seven balls (one no-ball included). Jadeja, who was dropped before he had scored a run by Dan Christian off Washington Sundar, went deep inside the crease and unleashed an attack on Patel that yielded the joint-highest runs scored in one over, 37, in IPL history. A target of 192 against CSK is always an extremely tall ask, more so if Jadeja gets some turn off the track. He came in to bowl when RCB, after a brisk start, had lost both openers. Jadeja attacked the stumps and Washington, de Villiers and Maxwell succumbed in their desperation to increase the run-rate. They just couldn’t deal with Jadeja’s guile..
Delhi beat Sunrisers in Super Over
Rishabh Pant's Delhi Capitals defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad in a Super Over at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium. Kane Williamson top-scored with an unbeaten 51-ball 66 as the Sunrisers ended up scoring 159 for 7 to end the game in a tie. For DC, Avesh Khan returned with the figures of 3/34 while Axar Patel scalped 2 wickets. Opting to bat first, DC got off to a brilliant start owing to Prithvi Shaw (53) and Shikhar Dhawan (28). Despite stuttering in the middle overs, last year’s finalists ended on 159/4 with the help of Rishabh Pant (37) and Steve Smith (34*). Chasing, SRH struggled from early on as they lost their captain David Warner (6) in the fourth over. Jonny Bairstow’s quickfire 38 and Kane Williamson’s excellent 51-ball 66 led the Orange Army to finish on 159/7. In the Super Over, SRH scored 7/0 through Warner and Williamson. In reply, DC reached the target of 8 through the efforts of Pant and Dhawan.
Raj bowlers call the shots
On Saturday the young Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson kept his cool and played a calm and composed knock of 42 off 41 balls to not only help his side beat Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets but also keep the side in the hunt for a playoff spot. At the Wankhede Stadium, Royals restricted the Knights to a paltry 133-9, courtesy a four-wicket haul by Chris Morris and some disciplined bowling by his colleagues. Chasing a mere 134, Royals initially suffered a jolt as both Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal were dismissed cheaply. Losing two wickets, Royals preferred not to go for any fancy shots, and it was Samson, playing an uncharacteristic innings, who stuck around till the end to ensure victory. Earlier, KKR were off to a slow start, with Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana finding it difficult to score against the disciplined bowling of Rajasthan Royals. Gill once again failed to get going and was run out by Jos Buttler, with the Knights reeling at 25-1 after the end of the Powerplay. Before KKR could regroup themselves came another blow as Nitish Rana was dismissed off Chetan Sakariya for 22. After 10 overs Knights were reeling at 55/3.
Punjab humble Mumbai
Punjab Kings finally ticked all the boxes that helped them arrest a three-match losing streak and end their assignment in Chennai with a 9-wicket victory over defending champions Mumbai Indians on Friday. It was skipper KL Rahul’s evening throughout. He won the toss, used his bowlers judiciously to restrict Mumbai to below-par 131/6, and anchored the chase with a handsome 60 not out off 52 balls, help his team register their second win in the tournament. Rahul and his fellow opener Mayank Agarwal got Punjab off to a flying 53-run start in the powerplay before Mumbai’s strike bowler Rahul Chahar pulled them back with the wicket of Agarwal for a 20-ball 25, laced with four hits to the fence and once over it. Earlier, with a well-set Rohit (63) and Suryakumar Yadav (33) in the middle, Mumbai Indians were expected to up the ante in the last four overs, but Rahul’s decision to save his best bowlers in Mohammed Shami (2/21), Ravi Bishnoi (2/21) and Arshdeep Singh (1/ 28) for the death, helped Punjab avoid the catastrophe.
10-wicket win for Bangalore
Devdutt Padikkal's maiden IPL ton and Virat Kohli's fine half-century helped Royal Challengers Bangalore defeat Rajasthan Royals by 10 wickets at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Thursday. Padikkal top-scored with an unbeaten 52-ball 101 while Kohli scored 72 not out off 47 balls. Earlier, RCB won the toss and opted to bowl. Shivam Dubey and Rahul Tewatia played phenomenal knocks as the Royals posted 177 for 9. Dube top-scored with a 32-ball 46 while Tewatia scored 40 off 23 after the Royals went through a massive top-order collapse. For RCB, Mohammed Siraj (3/27) and Harshal Patel (3/47) shared six wickets among themselves. RCB overhauled the target with 21 balls to spare. The win, their fourth on the trot, put the Bengaluru franchise on top of the table. Earlier, when Jos Buttler put away Mohammed Siraj’s deliveries for two boundaries on the trot in the opening over, it would have given the Rajasthan Royals dugout a glimmer of hope. The opening duo of Buttler and a misfiring Manan Vohra had, after all, failed in consecutive matches. But just when it looked like they would get going, the pair flattered to deceive again.
Third defeat for Knight Riders
The IPL game between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai on Wednesday was a study in contrasts. While CSK had multiple success stories, KKR threw up some monumental failures and two flashes of brilliance. The result reflected these contrasts as CSK beat KKR by 18 runs. A change in venue did not quite translate into change in fortune for KKR as they crashed to their third defeat on the trot. CSK rose to the top of the points table. Faf du Plessis, Deepak Chahar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, all in yellow jersey, will savour that evening for their memorable performances. Eoin Morgan, Prasidh Krishna, Shubman Gill, in KKR colours, will want to forget that evvening quickly. Andre Russell (22-ball 54) and Pat Cummins (34-ball 66*) did raise visions of a KKR miracle with their lusty sixes, six each. However, too much was being asked of them, even though Dinesh Karthik (24-ball 40) played an active supporting role. The rise of Cummins as a batsman is a positive that KKR are going to take out of this match. He is perhaps the answer to the allrounder they were missing down the order.
Veterans shine for Delhi
Veterans like Shikhar Dhawan, Amit Mishra, Steve Smith and Ravichandran Ashwin came in handy as Delhi Capitals chased down 138 against Mumbai Indians on a tricky Chennai pitch. It was always going to be a dogfight on this sluggish pitch at the Chepauk. After Amit Mishra’s spell of 4/24 kept the powerful Mumbai Indians batting lineup in check, it was Shikhar Dhawan and Steve Smith, scoring a 42-ball 45 and 29-ball 33 respectively, who took it upon themselves to take the game deep on a patchy surface. They ensured the young middle order didn’t have to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Smith and Dhawan relied more on hitting the gaps against the spinners and running hard. The odd boundary is always handy in a small tricky chase. Dhawan again exhibited his range as a cricketer. The four players well into their 30s made it easy for a couple of 24-year olds in Lalit Yadav (22) and Shimron Hetmyer (14) to help Capitals record their first win against MI in five games.