The Royals ended their three-game losing streak with the big win and jumped up to third in the standings with 12 points in 12 games. The win with 41 balls to spare also gave the Royals a huge boost to their net run rate (. 0633) as the play-off race heats up.
How it happened: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals
After Royals spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (187) became the highest wicket taker in IPL history, their youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal (98*) batted the fastest fifty, off 13 balls, in the Championship to help the guests chasing a modest target in the 14th finished.
Riding an unbeaten stand of 121 runs between Jaiswal and Sanju Samson (48*), the Royals chased down the 150-run target in just 13.1 overs for the big win.
Choosing to bowl first, Chahal made a brilliant 4/25 as the Royals restricted KKR to a below-par 149/8.
On a day when KKR batsmen struggled to time the ball, 21-year-old Jaiswal led the way by bowling out the fastest fifty, bettering the previous record held by KL Rahul and Pat Cummins (14 balls each).
With the modest chase, Jaiswal was two runs down under a century (98 from 47 balls), a studded hitting of 13 fours and five sixes.
Samson gave the left-footer excellent support with 48 not out from 29 balls as the duo shared an unbroken winning partnership of 121 runs off just 69 balls.
It’s almost over for KKR as they slipped to seventh (10 points, 12 games).
Jaiswal made his intention clear in the first over himself when KKR skipper Nitish Rana made a bold move to bowl himself.
Wasting no time, Jaiswal seized his chance and beat Rana for two sixes and two fours in a row in 26 run overs.
He hit Shardul Thakur with a hat-trick of fours to run to his fifty in the third on himself as RR virtually sealed the issue by scoring 78/1 inside the powerplay.
To pile up KKR’s misery, Sunil Narine dropped an easy catch when Samson was at 16.
The skipper then came on his own when he smoked Jharkhand’s left arm spinner Anukul Roy for three sixes in 20 run overs.
On a day RR delivered a captivating infield performance, Chahal (187 wickets) eclipsed Dwayne Bravo (183) to become the IPL’s all-time leading wicket-taker when he struck his second ball to dismiss the skipper by KKR Rana ( 22; 17b) in the 11th over.
Chahal’s breakthrough came just as KKR looked to come forward after a pathetic start when two surprising catches from Shimron Hetmyer and Sandeep Sharma set the tone.
Both came in Trent Boult’s next overs as left arm pacer Kiwi returned with 2/15 from his three overs in his return.
After a costly second in which he leaked 15 runs, Chahal was back in death overs and dismissed the KKR top scorer Venkatesh Iyer (57; 42b) and Shardul Thakur (1) in four balls.
He ended his spell by dismissing the latest KKR sensation Rinku Singh (16) in the penultimate over to also become this season’s leading wicket-taker (21).
Set on a dry Eden wicket, KKR’s front-row batsmen became a cropper, while Venkatesh kept strong and returned to form with a fighting fifty.
From being two off 12 balls, Venkatesh paced his innings well and ran to 39 from fifty balls. But he cut a wide delivery from Chahal to be brilliantly caught by Boult.
Andre Russell (10) failed to break through after being promoted to no. 5 and fell to KM Asif (1/34).
KKR, who were 58/2 after nine overs, looked to build the momentum after taking a strategic time out in the tenth over.
Venkatesh finally broke free by smashing Ashwin for consecutive sixes, while Rana finished the over with a stylish four through extra-cover to take them to 76/2 at the half-way point.
KKR looked for a decent total before Chahal triggered a mid-inning collapse.
(With inputs from PTI)