Jaipur: An inspired Rajasthan Royals inflicted a second successive defeat on Kolkata Knight Riders as the Gautam Gambhir-led side lost by 22 runs in the seventh match of IPL 5 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Sunday.
Chasing a competitive target of 165, Kolkata were pegged back by a flurry of initial wickets, losing Jacques Kallis (5), Gambhir (0) and Brendon McCullum (2) in successive deliveries. While Amit Singh did the damage at the top, Kevon Cooper struck at the end to finish with figures of 3 for 28, though both missed out on a hat-trick chance. Slow left-armer Ankit Chavan, who started the proceedings for the home side, and Siddharth Trivedi also took two wickets each.
Manoj Tiwary was the last man dismissed, out for a fighting 59, and, along with Yusuf Pathan (15), he tried to bring the derailed Kolkata innings back on track with a 41-run partnership for the fifth wicket. But the dismissal of Pathan, who was caught brilliantly by Brad Hodge while running backwards off Trivedi, ended Kolkata’s hopes of chasing down Rajasthan’s total. KKR were eventually all out for 142, with Brett Lee contributing 25 down the order.
Earlier, Rajasthan also got off to a terrible start after being put into bat, losing the wicket of last-match's hero Ajinkya Rahane for naught. Never sure of a single, Rahane accepted a call from skipper Rahul Dravid from the non-striker’s end, but despite a full-stretched dive, found himself well short of the ground. Some attacking shots – a hook for a six off Lee and a well-placed sweep for another maximum off debutant Sunil Narine – by Dravid got Rajasthan's innings going. But he found himself out of breath and got run out when he attempted a second with Sreevats Goswami (23), who also didn’t last long and was bowled by Rajat Bhatia.
Ashok Menaria’s six off Pathan in the eighth over was the first maximum hit off the offspinner. At the other end, Hodge, who came into this tournament after a successful stint in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) recently, hit Pathan for two more sixes and a boundary in his next over. The Victorian batsman kept up the tempo of the innings, hitting two consecutive boundaries off Jacques Kallis. But his wicket in the 17th over almost hit Rajasthan’s chances of crossing the 160-mark, before Owais Shah smashed a quickfire 23 off 11. A six and a four in Lee’s last over then ensured that the home side posted a challenging total of 164 for 5.
In reply, Kolkata got off to an even worse start. While Kallis couldn’t give elevation to a lofted shot towards mid-off, Gambhir was caught behind on the first ball he faced. McCullum tried to flick Chavan off his pads but was trapped lbw. Debabrata Das’ (12) leg stump was then uprooted by Cooper as he went for a big heave over the mid-wicket region, leaving Kolkata in dire straits. The stand between Tiwary and Pathan kept Kolkata in the hunt and Tiwary’s cheeky fours down to third man and Pathan’s towering six off Johan Botha were some of the few moments of joy for the Kolkata fans before their innings eventually folded off the final delivery of the game.