With an aim to seal their third consecutive win in the 11th edition of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), 2008 champions Rajasthan Royals managed to set a 161 run target against 2-times winners Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Asked to bat first by visiting captain, Dineh Karthik after winning the toss, Rajasthan skipper Ajinkya Rahane revamped the sloppy start for his side as the ace Indian batsman hit purple patch in the fourth over. Rahane showed no mercy to Sunil Naraine as the Royals skipper thrashed the West Indian bowler for 18 runs.
Royals were banking on Rahane’s red-hot form until Dinesh Karthik outsmarted the Royals skipper in the 7th over. Rahane was teased by Nitish Rana’s delivery which he tried flick while coming down the track. A miss-timed flick of Rahane cost him his wicket as Dinesh Karthik collected the loose ball to hit the stumps. Royal were put again on the front foot by Rahane’s counterpart Darcy Short who continued punishing the visiting teams with his trademark shots. Sunil Narine, who often turned out to economical for the Royals had a disastrous night where he conceded 48 runs in four overs and went wicketless.
While Narine had an unforgettable night, in-form bowler Nitish Rana proved to be pivotal and removed openers Ajinkya Rahane (36; 19b 5×4 1×6) and D’Arcy Short (44; 43b 5×4 1×6). Joining him was Tom Curran, who wiped the lower order with two quick successions in two deliveries. For the hosts, opener Short emerged as the top-scorer but failed to make a striking impression for the Royals. His Ashes opponents and explosive England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler played a small cameo and helped the hosts reach a decent target with his 18-ball 24 run knock. Led by Dinesh Karthik, Kolkata Knight Riders chose to field first after winning the toss and started bright thanks to wrist spinners Piyush Chawla (1/18) and Kuldeep Yadav (1/23) who dominated the bowling department by giving away just nine runs in the first three overs.