Kolkata Knight Riders' upward surge continued even in their final league game of IPL 2021 as they crushed Rajasthan Royals by 86 runs at Sharjah on Thursday and nearly sealed their play-offs spot in this edition.
KKR are now sitting at No. 4 with 14 points and a Net Run Rate of 0.59. Mumbai Indians, who play their last match tomorrow against Sunrisers Hyderabad, will need to do almost the unimaginable to surpass KKR. They not only have to win big but must score 250 runs batting first and dismiss the opposition within 80 runs to go past the Knights in Net Run Rate. They will be out of the race if they get a chase.
KKR, on Thursday, put up a masterclass in both batting and bowling. Riding on a classy-yet-mindful 44-ball 56 from Shubman Gill and some magical bowling performances from Shivam Mavi (4-21) and Lockie Ferguson (3-18), KKR bundled Rajasthan out for the lowest total of this season (85 runs).
Being put in to bat first, KKR had a watchful start. Gill and Venkatesh Iyer (38 off 35 balls) stitched a sensible opening partnership of 79 runs off 65 balls, even as the pitch offered low bounce. By the end of the 5th over, KKR were 31/0. Gill and Iyer mostly resorted to the ones and twos in the powerplay, barring a few big shots. It was only in the 10th over from Jaydev Undadkat that Iyer opened up and plundered two sixes and 14 runs off the over.
Second successive #VIVOIPL fifty for @ShubmanGill! 👏 👏— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) October 7, 2021
What a fine knock this has been from the @KKRiders opener! 👌 👌 #VIVOIPL #KKRvRR
Follow the match 👉 https://t.co/oqG5Yj3afs pic.twitter.com/rKIJNWLo54
Even though Iyer was dismissed in the very next over by Rahul Tewatia, the Gill show continued along with Nitish Rana (12 off 5 balls) and then Rahul Tripathi (21 off 14 balls). In the end, Dinesh Karthik (14 off 11 balls) and Eoin Morgan (13 off 11 balls) remained unbeaten to take KKR to 171/4 in 20 overs.
The bowling department had quite a decent total to defend and Shakib Al Hasan, coming in to bowl the first over, picked up Yashasvi Jaiswal for a duck. Shivam Mavi joined the party with his first ball in the very next over as he sent back Sanju Samson (1).
Cracking start with the ball for @KKRiders! 👌 👌@Sah75official & @ShivamMavi23 strike. 👍 👍#RR lose Yashasvi Jaiswal & captain Sanju Samson early in the chase. #VIVOIPL #KKRvRR— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) October 7, 2021
Follow the match 👉 https://t.co/oqG5Yj3afs pic.twitter.com/FU1LnlrnS4
Ferguson, who was coming back after an injury, made his statement with his first over too, as he picked up Liam Livingstone (6) and Anuj Rawat (0). Both Mavi and Ferguson kept taking wickets at regular intervals as Rajasthan's castle fell like a house of cards. Varun Chakaravarthy was economical as usual with his 4 overs, giving away just 14 runs and picking up Chris Morris' wicket.