Yashasvi Jaiswal, Yuzvendra Chahal help Rajasthan Royals demolish KKR to go third in IPL 2023

By, Kolkata
May 11, 2023 11:02 PM IST

Opener hits 47-ball 98 after spinner takes 4/25 in a dominant display at Eden Gardens.

Rajasthan Royals eviscerated Kolkata Knight Riders’ hopes of getting closer to the IPL playoffs, riding a scintillating 47-ball 98 from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Yuzvendra Chahal’s 4/25 to beat them by nine wickets with 41 balls to spare. Royals are third and KKR are still not eliminated but the margin of this victory is bound to affect their net run rate should be in the reckoning.

Rajasthan Royals batters Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson after winning the IPL 2023 match against Kolkata Knight Riders(PTI)
Rajasthan Royals batters Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson after winning the IPL 2023 match against Kolkata Knight Riders(PTI)

This was as close to a perfect match as it can get, with Royals choosing to bowl on a two-paced Eden Gardens pitch, restricting KKR to 149/8 before making an absolute mockery of the target. KKR played out 48 dots in an innings anchored largely by Venkatesh Iyer’s fifty.

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But the pitch seemed to play differently in the second innings as Jaiswal raised his fifty in 13 balls. The game was lost by the time Royals finished the Powerplay on 78/1. Jaiswal hauled KKR over the coals with a feisty range of strokes, finishing with 12 boundaries and five sixes. Sanju Samson was equally devastating, hammering 48 off 29 balls after Sunil Narine dropped him off his own bowling when he was on 16.

The writing was on the wall much earlier though, when Royals made the most of a dry and slow mid-May Eden Gardens to keep KKR down to a sub-par score. Royals’ faster bowlers exploited the tennis-ball bounce to either bang it in short or take pace off the ball and spinners hanging the ball in the air, asking the batters to clear the ropes.

A three-over spell with two wickets at the cost of 15 runs from Trent Boult was the perfect start Royals could have asked for before the spinners took over. Chahal bowled his full quota, as did Ravichandran Ashwin, conceding 57 runs between themselves.

Chahal was at his crafty best, weaving a mesmerising range of variation on a deceptively slow surface to flummox KKR further. There was a 92 kph wide slider that lured Iyer into a massive hoick, but he could only spear it to short cover. Two types of fuller deliveries—one was hit with the spin by Rinku Singh to long-off while the other went straight and hit a sweeping Shardul Thakur flush on his front pad—kept tempting the batters as well. And then there was the tossed-up googly that Nitish Rana swept to deep backward-square to make Chahal the highest wicket-taker in the IPL.

Ashwin was the perfect foil to Chahal’s tempting lines, starting with a two-run over in the Powerplay and ending with a slightly expensive 10th over that gave KKR 18 runs, thanks largely to two contrasting sixes from Iyer. But the high point of Royals’ dominance was the two overs of off-breaks from Joe Root—who is yet to bat in the IPL, bowled in the middle—conceding just 14 runs and ensuring Boult or KM Asif didn’t have to return to bowl their last overs.

Royals’ fielding too was exceptional, dropping nothing and saving at least five boundaries. The catches were timely as well. Jason Roy, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Nitish Rana got starts but couldn’t convert. Andre Russell didn’t fire and even Rinku was subdued. KKR still reached 149 courtesy Iyer’s fifty—an innings of two halves where he used the first 20 balls to score 11 before piling 46 in the next 22 balls. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to prevent a soul-crushing defeat.

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    Somshuvra Laha is a sports journalist with over 11 years' experience writing on cricket, football and other sports. He has covered the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the 2016 ICC World Twenty20, cricket tours of South Africa, West Indies and Bangladesh and the 2010 Commonwealth Games for Hindustan Times.

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