Indian T20 League: Kolkata humble rudderless Rajasthan

Kolkata came up with a commanding performance to thrash Rajasthan by 86 runs at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday. The thumping win eliminated Punjab and Rajasthan from the tournament and put them on the brink of playoffs. Meanwhile, Rajasthan finished seventh on the standings after another disappointing outing from the batters.

Chasing 172, Rajasthan folded for 85. Shivam Mavi grabbed the spotlight with his maiden T20 four-wicket haul. New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson took three wickets. Apart from Rahul Tewatia and Shivam Dube, none of the Rajasthan batters registered two-digit figures. It was Kolkata’s opening duo who paved the way for a challenging total. Shubman Gill struck a second successive fifty, and Venkatesh Iyer made 38.

Solid opening stand

Rajasthan made four changes from their last game. Liam Livingstone, Chris Morris, Anuj Rawat, and Jaydev Unadkat replaced Evin Lewis, Kuldip Yadav, David Miller, and Shreyas Gopal, respectively. Kolkata included Ferguson in their playing 11 in place of Tim Southee. The 30-year-old, who has been impressive in the league so far, had to sit out of Kolkata’s last two fixtures due to a hamstring niggle.

Rajasthan bowlers didn’t have much success after choosing to bowl first. Gill and Iyer put together a half-century stand for the second time in the UAE leg. Chetan Sakariya saw Gill hitting him over long-on for a maximum and Iyer scoring a boundary off him. Kolkata reached 34/0 at the end of the powerplay. The left-handed batsman spoiled Unadkat’s figures with two sixes in the tenth over. At the other end, the 22-year-old welcomed Tewatia with a six.

Quickfire batting

Tewatia grabbed the opening breakthrough in the 11th over. The spinner cleaned up Iyer, who tried to play a reverse only to miss the ball, and it crashed onto the stumps. The new man Nitish Rana didn’t stay at the crease for long. He hit a four and six off Glenn Phillips before finding Livingstone at long-off. Gill upped the tempo and brought up Kolkata’s 100. Meanwhile, Tripathi scored consecutive boundaries off Shivam Dube’s second over. Kolkata moved to 119/2 after 14 overs.

Gill reached his half-century with a four. However, Morris sent him back to the pavilion. Jaiswal took a comfortable catch to dismiss Gill for 56. It was the all-rounder’s first wicket in the UAE leg. Rajasthan continued to leak runs as Dinesh Karthik hammered the ball out of the ground off Mustafizur Rahman’s bowling. Sakariya brought some relief for Rajasthan with the wicket of Tripathi. But Karthik and Eoin Morgan steered Kolkata to 171 in their 20 overs. Morris gave away 16 runs off the last over.

Rajasthan crumble

The run chase got off to the worst possible start when Shakib Al Hasan, who opened the bowling, dismissed Yashasvi Jaiswal in the third ball. In the next over, captain Samson gave a catch to Morgan at midwicket. Livingstone, who opened the batting, scored his first runs via boundary.

Ferguson left Rajasthan reeling with twin strikes in his first over. Livingstone skied the ball, and Tripathi, who ran from deep backward square leg, took an excellent catch to dismiss the Englishman. The new man Rawat was caught plump in front of stumps. He went back to the dressing room for a first-ball duck.

Dube and Phillips hit a six each in the first over after the powerplay. They added 20 runs for the fifth wicket before both were clean bowled by Mavi. Phillips scored eight, while Dube made 18. Morris, too, left the crease without troubling the scorers. He was dismissed LBW by Varun Chakravarthy. The scorecard read 35/7 in nine overs. They needed 15 runs to avoid registering the lowest total in the tournament’s history.

A little respite

A 36-ball 44 from Tewatia helped Rajasthan avoid an embarrassing defeat. The all-rounder, who struck five fours and two sixes, stitched together two 20-plus partnerships with Unadkat and Sakariya. Ferguson and Mavi grabbed a wicket each to bundle out Rajasthan for 85 in the 17th over. The Jaipur-based franchise didn’t go past 100 in their last game too.

It was a second successive huge defeat for Rajasthan, whose batting fragilities were exposed yet again. The record-signing Morris had a disastrous UAE leg, picking up just one wicket at an economy of 10. The likes of Miller, Tewatia, Livingstone, too, couldn’t deliver for Rajasthan. It is the third successive season they have failed to finish in the top six.

Kolkata 171/4 in 20 overs (S Gill 56, V Iyer 38; C Sakariya 1/23)

Rajasthan 85 all out in 16.1 overs (R Tewatia 44; S Mavi 4/21; L Ferguson 3/18)


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