From Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi's carnage to Kuldeep Yadav tying batsmen down with a badass spell of spin bowling, the Kolkata Knight Riders-Rajasthan Royals clash at Eden Gardens had more twists and turns than Ireland's inaugural Test at Malahide. A composed Dinesh Karthik then did his MS Dhoni impersonation to perfection yet again to take Kolkata to 14 points, ahead of their final match in the league phase. Take a glance at the key moments from the game at Eden Gardens.
Karthik just can't stop hitting last ball sixes
"If I had to give you one defining moment, then it is obviously meeting Abhishek (Abhishek Nayar) and pouring my heart out to him, asking him to help me," Dinesh Karthik had said after his famous Nidahas Trophy final six.
From helping Karthik get accustomed to various conditions and scenarios to helping him master more than one shot for the same ball, Nayar turned Karthik into a finisher and how!
The wicket-keeper batsman seems to have made it a habit of finishing games off and has been phenomenal in succesful run chases for Kolkata Knight Riders. He has made 186 runs off 111 balls across 5 matches this season in succesful run chases this season with four of them being not-outs.
At Eden against Rajasthan, he once again took centre stage with Kolkata needing a final push. Karthik remained unbeaten and slammed the most fearsome fast bowler of the season, Archer, for a four and a six to finish off the game.
The unlucky boots
The first thing Ish Sodhi might want to get with his IPL money is a lucky boot. On Tuesday, the Kiwi spinner had a stroke of bad luck when an inside edge off Prasidh Krishna was on its way to square-leg but was stopped by his boot and popped up for Karthik to hold on to a catch.
With Rajasthan in dire straits, Kolkata Knight Riders wanted to see off the tail early and spotted an inside edge from Sodhi hit his boot and balloon up to the keeper. Although the soft signal was not-out, replays showed that the KKR players were indeed right about the inside edge and boot.
A drop that cost 27
Imagine going through all the pre-match drills, stepping out fresh as a cucumber and spilling the catch that comes your way off the very first ball of the match. The glaring eyes of the coach and captain fail to escape your attention. Nitish Rana was the culprit for Kolkata Knight Riders as he let slip Rahul Tripathi off the first ball of the Rajasthan innings on Tuesday.
A fired up Shivam Mavi had hustled Tripathi for pace with a snorter first up but watched in dismay as the resultant edge carried to slip where Rana dived, got both hands to the ball and let it through. The drop proved to be a bit costly for Kolkata as Tripathi slammed 19 in the very next over from Prasidh Krishna and ended with a 15 ball 27.
The boundary barrage
When someone like Buttler gets going expect complete carnage. Buoyed by his own recent form, Buttler took cue from a belligerent Tripathi to take on Mavi in his second over. The seamer had bowled a tidy first over that cost just two runs but Prasidh Krishna conceded four boundaries off the last four balls of the second over to Tripathi and put Buttler on strike against Mavi.
The England keeper slammed the seamer over point for four to reveal his intentions early. Next ball, Buttler moved off-side and used the extra pace to swivel and lift him over fine-leg for a maximum.
Point, long-on, fine-leg, third man were all bombarded in the next four balls as Buttler ended an over full of boundaries — four fours and two sixes. The two sixes both came off fuller length balls on the stumps but the extra pace meant that all Buttler had to do was get bat on ball. Karthik's unimaginative field setting for Mavi also pegged back Kolkata Knight Riders.
In all, Rajasthan managed to hit 10 consecutive balls for boundaries — four coming off Prasidh and the remaining six off Mavi.
When Rahane fed Narine with Gowtham
With a paltry total to chase down, Sunil Narine seemed to be in a hurry to get some sleep and the West Indian began the run chase with four successive boundaries off Krishnappa Gowtham. The off-spinner, who has had immense success opening the bowling this season, looked clueless against Narine's bat swing and dished out innocuous deliveries, three of which the opener slammed to the leg-side.
It was a bizarre decision by Rahane to bowl Gowtham to Narine first up given the kind of success the southpaw has had against spin.
Across his career Sunil Narine has faced 33 balls of spin in the opening over of the innings and has scored 70 runs without being dismissed. Among the players to have faced 25+ balls of spin in Over 1, only Moeen Ali has a higher run rate. #KKRvRR #IPL pic.twitter.com/6rfO5yyUsA
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) May 15, 2018
With Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes at his disposal, Rahane fed the off-spinner to Narine and the opener helped himself to 21 before the inevitable unfolded when Stokes came on from the other end. Narine tried to swat a back of the length delivery from Stokes but ended skying a catch to cover to the very man he had taken full toll off in the first over, Gowtham. A visibly angry Gowtham roared and threw the ball at the stumps in joy.