“What’s left for you in the IPL now?” a scribe asked Kolkata Knight Riders coach John Buchanan after one of the defeats that ensured they were completely out of contention. “Well, our party is indeed over. We will perhaps now look to spoil the party of some big boys,” he said.
And that’s exactly what they are doing, and how! After they brought the high-flying Chennai’s chances under a cloud beating them the other day, they went a step further today and closed out the semifinal door on defending champions Rajasthan Royals.
One could almost see Buchanan chuckling in joy. Perhaps not as much at the victory of his team, which in any case doesn’t matter much, but at the thought of taking Shane Warne down with him and ending his dream of having another crack at the IPL trophy. After all, Warne has been the most vocal critic of Buchanan’s coaching methods. The usually reticent Buchanan couldn’t have had a better way of exacting revenge.
It was a mix of some superb bowling and mindless running between the wickets that put paid to Rajasthan’s hopes. They began with a bang, smashing 22 off the first over, but finished with a proverbial whimper, amassing just 101.
The downfall began with Charl Langeveldt removing Rob Quiney in the second over. Thereafter the Royals just couldn’t get back on the track. The South African medium- pacer picked up two more wickets, and Swapnil Asnodkar, Yusuf Pathan and Tyron Henderson ran themselves out to the leave Royals on a sticky wicket.
KKR, though, began in their usual disastrous fashion, threatening to snatch another defeat from victory’s jaws. And despite their best efforts, they didn’t quite succeed this time around, though they managed to turn what should have been an easy win into a last-over thriller.
Quick wickets helped Rajasthan Royals storm back into the game and take an upper hand, but Laxmi Ratan Shukla stitched together a 50-plus partnership down the order to seal the game.