A rejuvenated Kolkata Knight Riders overcame a few early setbacks to send Rajasthan Royals out of the tournament with a 25-run win in the eliminator at Eden Gardens on Wednesday. A superb half-century from Dinesh Karthik and a fiery knock from Andre Russell helped them get to a good total on a slow surface and their bowlers then did a fine job in restricting the visitors.
Here's a glance at the report card from the match:
Krishnappa Gowtham - 10/10
After two unimpressive shows, Gowtham was once again trusted with the new ball and he delivered by having Sunil Narine stumped. The West Indian had slogged 20 off Gowtham in the first over the last time these two teams met but the rookie off-spinner had the last laugh on Thursday. He added the wicket of Robin Uthappa to complete a splendid opening spell of 2/15 in three overs.
Dinesh Karthik - 10/10
The wicket-keeper batsman was in scintillating touch with Kolkata's back against the wall. Karthik slammed a fabulous half-century, this time doing it in the first innings, to revive Kolkata Knight Riders’ hopes at Eden Gardens. Taking his team to a par score on a difficult surface, Karthik departed to Ben Laughlin in the death overs.
Andre Russell - 10/10
On a slow pitch, KKR needed a final push to reach a fighting total and as has been the case for them through the season, Russell stepped up when it mattered the most, flaunting his unblemished swagger and putting the Rajasthan death bowlers under pressure. His 49 came off a mere 25 balls, a strike rate of close to 200 in an innings where majority had a less than a 100. He wasn't as effective with the ball, going wicketless in his three-over spell.
Piyush Chawla - 10/10
Such has been his turnaround this season that Kolkata's decision to use the right to match card on him is no longer viewed with contempt. On a slow surface, Chawla bowled his leg-breaks and googlies perfectly well to confound the Rajasthan batsmen. He broke the opening stand with Tripathi's wicket and added the big wicket of Sanju Samson to seal the game for Kolkata.
Kuldeep Yadav - 10/10
The wrist-spinner had wrecked Rajasthan Royals a few nights ago at the very same venue and on a similar track, he used his ample variations to keep the visiting batsmen in two minds. They stuck to the notion that taking Kuldeep on wasn't an option and ended up managing just 18 in his four overs. He picked up the important wicket of Ajinkya Rahane to break a promising stand.
Sanju Samson - 9/10
Regaining the kind of touch that gave him and his team a good start to the season, Samson evoked hopes of a major upset in the eliminator with his half-century and 62-run stand with skipper, Rahane. Right when it seemed like the Kerala youngster had enough gas in him to take his team over the line, Piyush Chawla dismissed him with a ball that screamed to be hit.
Ajinkya Rahane - 8/10
Nobody must have given Rahane a second thought in their fantasy teams for Thursday night and as it turned out, he wrecked several fantasies with a calculated innings of 46 that ended with him returning a catch to Kuldeep. He wasn't at his best this season but it was a decent knock to end the season.
Ish Sodhi - 9/10
Whilst he didn't have the wickets to show like the other Rajasthan Royals’ spinners, Sodhi did his part to quieten Kolkata’s daunting batting line-up. He didn't concede a single boundary and ensured that the hardwork of his colleagues stayed intact. The only thing that works against him is that he went wicketless.
Shubman Gill - 8/10
Once again with KKR in dire straits, the young Shubman Gill stepped up and doused the fire along with his skipper. He showed admirable control and tenacity to counter the slowness of the attack and even began KKR’s late onslaught with a four and a six off Shreyas Gopal. His 17-ball 28 injected some urgency to an innings that was going downhill.
Prasidh Krishna - 8/10
Understanding ones limitations can be quintessential to becoming good in one's field. Prasidh Krishna, for all the suspicions cast on him, has been doing pretty good within his limitations and played a major part in KKR’s win on Wednesday. His three-run 18th over and eight-run final over were extremely good by T20 standards.
Jofra Archer - 7/10
A pumped up Jofra Archer dismissed Nitish Rana and used the short ball to good effect to contain the Kolkata batsmen. His final two overs cost 20, but it doesn't mask the brilliant job he did at the beginning of the innings to support Gowtham. Archer also dismissed a rampant Shubman to end with figures of 2/33.
Shreyas Gopal - 7/10
The leg-spinner resumed from where he had left against Royal Challengers Bangalore, exploiting the surface well to keep the Kolkata Knight Riders’ batsmen guessing. With Chris Lynn and Karthik on a resurrection journey, Gopal intercepted by dismissing the former, taking a catch off his own bowling. His first three overs were economical but he conceded 20 of his final over to Shubman and Karthik to let go of the stranglehold.
Ben Laughlin - 6/10
The Australian seamer hit a back of a length channel, but gifted away way too many freebies to finish on the higher side of the economy rate. That he dismissed the dangerous Dinesh Karthik before the all important last two overs gives Laughlin an edge in this report card.
Rahul Tripathi - 5/10
The opener, along with Rahane, set up a stable platform for Rajasthan to build on, slamming Narine for back-to-back sixes before being dismissed by Chawla next over. Perhaps his bigger contribution came when he forced Rahane to review a decision against him and got it spot on.
Heinrich Klaasen - 4/10
The wicket-keeper batsman had less time to influence the match big time but his run a ball 18 did not exactly ooze the belief that he could have created more of an impact had he come up the order. Klaasen's reputation, though, has only grown and he could play a bigger role in Rajasthan's campaign next year.
Chris Lynn - 3/10
Despite wickets tumbling around him on a slow wicket, Lynn held his own for eight overs, which in itself is a testimonial to his massive improvement. However, much to Kolkata's disappointment, the Big Bash hero couldn't carry on and gifted a return catch to Shreyas Gopal.
Sunil Narine - 2/10
On a pitch where he was expected to play a crucial role, Narine faltered with the bat and ball to test Kolkata's depth. He was undone by Krishnappa Gowtham in the very first over and the lack of confidence seeped into his bowling where he sent down an expensive first over and went wicketless in his four-over spell.
Javon Searles - 1/10
The West Indian all-rounder had a minimal role to play in the game, bowling a solitary over for 13 runs aside from walking in to bat with the innings almost done and dusted. At the moment, he seems to be just filling the numbers but in this game you never know.
Robin Uthappa - 1/10
With the surface on the slower side, Kolkata Knight Riders needed Robin Uthappa to shed off his poor form in the season and play the sheet anchor role. Instead, he appeared fidgety and miscued a flick off Gowtham back to the bowler’s hands to depart after scoring just three runs.
Nitish Rana - 1/10
The all-rounder’s frenetic start to the season has faded and on a sluggish Eden wicket, with his team struggling on all fronts, Rana decided to play a horror shot. He backed away to smash Archer as the ball did its bit to hit high on the bat and ballooned straight up for mid-on to take the simplest of chances. On a night when KKR needed their all-rounder to step up, Rana disappointed.
Stuart Binny - 1/10
He batted for a mere three balls but endured the wrath of fans for conceding three dots including his wicket in his short stay at the wicket. Binny slogged hard without connecting and ended his wretched innings when he slogged a low full toss to square leg.
Jaydev Unadkat - 1/10
The left-arm seamer’s horrendous IPL continued as he failed to gather any kind of rhythm for the all important eliminator. His variations proved to be fodder to Kolkata batsmen looking to up the ante and he ended up conceding 19 in his second over to follow up from 14 off his first.
Rating chart: 10-9: Excellent, 8-7: Good, 6-5: Average, 4-3: Poor, 2-1: Very poor