|Scorecard:||Rajasthan Royals v Kolkata Knight Riders|
|Player:||AB Agarkar, LR Shukla, CK Langeveldt|
|Event:||Indian Premier League 2009|
DateLine: 20th May 2009
Kolkata Knight Riders created another upset in a thrilling encounter at the Kingsmead in Durban, beating Rajasthan Royals by four wickets and in the process knocking the defending champions out of the tournament. The game also now makes life a little comfortable for Chennai Super Kings who will breathe easier playing against Kings XI Punjab in the second game.
But it was by no means easy for the Kolkata outfit, even after skittling the opposition out for a paltry 101 runs. They it seemed wanted to make a match out of it and had almost thrown it away, having lost half their side even before putting 50 runs on the board. Fortunately Ajit Agarkar (13) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (48) had other ideas and they made sure they had few hiccups on their way of reaching the winning total.
Chasing 102 to win, Kolkata got off to a fiery start courtesy two boundaries off the first two balls from their skipper Brendon McCullum (9). Munaf Patel though made a comeback scalping Sourav Ganguly (0) off the last ball of the over. What followed after that was a procession of Kolkata batsmen back to the dug-out.
Amit Singh with the very first ball of his over, found McCullum plumb in front of his wickets. There was a little lull after that. The run rate came down as only 12 were scored in the next 23 deliveries. This resulted in Asphalt Singh (6) going for an upper cut off a Patel delivery only to find a diving Rob Quiney at the third men fence. Brad Hodge (6) and David Hussey (9) fell soon after and when wicketkeeper Shaikh (6) fell with the total reading 45/6, not many believed Kolkata will pull this one off.
But then Agarkar joined hands with Shukla, who had a lot to prove about his all-round abilities. The platform was set for him and he performed extremely well under immense pressure to take the side home. The duo started off on a cautious note picking up singles and doubles and then once they started to see the ball well, Shukla hit a few boundaries to make the game that much easier for the side. Fortunately the small total never looked out of sight for them.
Earlier, batting first after losing the toss, Rajasthan Royals started firing on all cylinders. Surprisingly, McCullum threw the ball to Hodge for the first over and Naman Ojha (22) responded by dispatching three deliveries out of the park. The score read 22 runs for no loss after the first over. But then disaster struck. Three wickets fell in quick succession and Rajasthan just could not come out of the hole.
Wickets came via some good bowling by Charl Langeveldt and company and some extremely panicky running between the wickets, something which is not expected even at a collegiate level.
Quiney (1) was the first to fall to an awesome short one from Langeveldt who was firing a few quick ones in. Quiney tried to pull one over the long-leg but was beaten by sheer pace and the ball landed straight in the hands of wicketkeeper Shaikh. In a match where Smith was made to sit out, it was pertinent for Quiney to play a handy knock but his fall was surely a huge wicket.
The next man to go was Swapnil Asnodkar (4). He was run out, courtesy some outstanding work by Ashok Dinda off his own bowling and when Ojha was sent back to the dug-out, again by Langeveldt, caught brilliantly by the wicketkeeper, the Royals were in dire straights. The sorry state continued with wickets continuing to tumble.
Johan Botha (8) showed a little resistance hitting two boundaries in his short stay but then he was flummoxed by Agarkar as he tried to get a bit over-adventurous. Niraj Patel did score 14 but hardly looked in as he was always found wanting against the short one. Finally one by Langeveldt got the better of him.
The fall of this wicket brought Ravindra Jadeja (14) and Yusuf Pathan (9) together. The Royals desperately wanted them to fire. But it was a day when the Rajasthan batsmen had left the basics booklet back home.
Just after the strategic break, Pathan took off for a suicidal single only to forge a mix-up with Jadeja and get out. This was a big breakthrough as Rajasthan's success in this edition has almost been directly proportional to Pathan doing well with the willow.
Another foolish run-out in the space of three deliveries sent back the other big hitter Tyron Henderson (0). His was the seventh wicket to fall and post that though a 30-run partnership was stitched between Jadeja and skipper Shane Warne (18), the Royals never looked look like even putting up a par score.