Centurion Jos Buttler, hat-trick hero Yuzvendra Chahal and debutant Obed McCoy were the men of the hour as Rajasthan Royals (RR) edged out Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 7 points to mark the 14th anniversary of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with exhilarating play that will go down in tournament folklore.
Buttler (103 on 61 balls) shattered his second century of the season to propel RR to a dominant 217/5 after being batted. KKR then nearly executed their chase to perfection before ‘player of the match’ Chahal threw a wrench in their plans with an excellent 17th on which he gave up just 2 runs while grabbing 4 wickets, including the 21st hat-trick overall in the IPL.
The Knight Riders were still in the game as Umesh Yadav hit Trent Boult for 2 sixes and a four to bring 200 in the 18th. However, Prasidh Krishna only conceded 7 points in the penultimate to leave KKR needing 11 of the last six balls.
Obed McCoy, making his IPL debut, came on to win the final and got rid of Sheldon Jackson (8) on the 2nd delivery before castling Umesh (21 on 9 balls) on the 4th ball to seal a thrilling victory .
KKR’s chase started horribly as Sunil Narine was exhausted from the very first delivery. Aaron Finch attempted to stand out with a suicidal single that left Narine well short as Shimron Hetmyer spoiled the stumps with a direct hit.
However, Shreyas Iyer and Finch shared a 107-run 53-ball partnership to undo the damage. Finch raised his fifty balls from 26 as he fired Prasidh for four in the 9th and celebrated by hitting the next boundary ball again. However, Prasidh got the last laugh by getting rid of Finch (58 from 28 balls) on the final delivery.
Shreyas raised his fifty balls on 32 in the 10th, but lost partner Nitish Rana in the 13th. Rana scored a quick 18 from 11 but was sent packing when Chahal caught him from long range. Ashwin then casted Andre Russell (0) with a smart carrom ball in the next over to return the power hitter to a “Golden Duck” and cut KKR to 149/4.
Shreyas and Venkatesh added 29 balls from 15 to help reduce the equation to the necessary 40 from 24 balls when Chahal entered for his final.
Chahal sent one of his best overs in the IPL starting by getting rid of Venkatesh (6) who was puzzled on the 1st ball. Shreyas (85 from 51 balls) was then trapped LBW on the 4th ball before Shivam Mavi found the long range man on the 5th delivery. Pat Cummins, who equaled the IPL fastest fifty record this season, then came out and was caught on the final delivery to give Chahal a well-deserved hat-trick as the spinner finished with impressive numbers of 5 /40.
Earlier at the Toss, Shreyas decided to play as Kolkata made a change with Shivam Mavi replacing Aman Khan. Rajasthan had three changes with Trent Bould, Obed McCoy and Karun Nair replacing James Neesham, Kuldeep Sen and Rassie van der Dussen.
Buttler only scored 3 on the first 9 balls he faced, but then hit Umesh Yadav for a four and six on the first two balls on the 3rd before finishing a four on the last ball. Butter knocked out a Umesh yorker and Venkatesh Iyer made a good dive to keep it, but it gave Buttler time to come back for round four which he completed with his own dive.
Buttler then started to mind the boundaries as he hit Pat Cummins for 3 fours in the 7th to bring his fifty balls up on just 29 balls. Kolkata finally managed to break through as Sunil Narine casted Devdutt Padikkal (24 from 18 balls) in the 10th.
However, captain Sanju Samson came out and not only matched but surpassed Buttler’s aggression by scoring a whirlwind 38 from just 19 balls (3 fours and 2 sixes) before Andre Russell caught him in the middle of the deep wicket. at the 16th.
Meanwhile, Buttler hit his one hundred in style with a six against Cummins in the 17th. His spectacular innings finally came to an end just 3 balls later as he found the defender as he looked to fire a sharp bouncer from Cummins. Buttler came back after hitting 9 fours and 5 sixes to score 103 on just 61 balls.
Narine then returned for his final and started by getting rid of Riyan Parag (5) from the first ball. Cummins played a big part in the wicket taking a nice overhead hold after running for a long time before passing the ball to Shivam Mavi just before falling into the ropes. Meanwhile, Narine was superb all night as evidenced by his 4-0-21-2 numbers, recording a save rate of just 5.25 on a night when RR scored at a 10.85 rate.
Shivam Mavi netted a well-deserved wicket when he got rid of Karun Nair (3) in the penultimate, giving up just 5 runs to finish with numbers at 1/34. But, Shimron Hetmyer (26* on 13 balls) hit Russell for straight sixes in the final before finishing with a four to help RR after 217/5.
First post: STI