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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

IPL 2019: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine tame listless Rajasthan Royals

Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets in Jaipur on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2019 08:20 IST
Shalini Gupta
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Chris Lynn (R) and Sunil Narine share a moment during their match against Rajasthan Royals.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Chris Lynn (R) and Sunil Narine share a moment during their match against Rajasthan Royals.(AFP)
         

A couple of hours before the Rajasthan Royals-Kolkata Knight Riders game began, Jaipur was hit by a severe sand storm on Sunday. While it didn’t take too long for the weather to clear up, Royals didn’t measure up to expectations. Their game was the lull after the storm had passed. ((Full Scorecard))

Imagine a side batting 20 overs and losing just three wickets. You would expect them to score at least 160, but all Rajasthan Royals could manage was a paltry 139. It was a strange, aimless kind of an innings where both Jos Buttler and Steve Smith were batting in a mode opposite to the frenetic approach one would normally associate with the T20 format.

And coming against a rampaging and in-form Kolkata Knight Riders, it proved too little. KKR were 140/2 after 13.5 overs, winning by eight wickets, after openers Chris Lynn (50) and Sunil Narine (47) all but finished the job. Kolkata will go atop the table with this win.

English-import, left-arm seamer Harry Gurney, included in the KKR team replacing fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, finished with impressive figures 4-0-25-2. Not only did he remove the dangerous-looking Jos Buttler for 37, he bowled a terrific last over with Steve Smith batting on 67, conceding just seven runs.

ALSO READ: IPL 2019 Highlights, RR vs KKR, Match 21 at Sawai Mansingh Stadium: Kolkata win by eight wickets

Kolkata, riding on the swashbuckling brilliance and power of Andre Russell in this IPL, probably didn’t want to leave anything till the end and Lynn and Narine showed both the Rajasthan team and their fans what pace to bat is at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Sunday night.

Both Lynn and Narine were unforgiving with their clean hitting. Rajasthan captain Ajinkya Rahane, with a paltry total at his disposal, ran out of attacking options pretty early. By the time he introduced his two leg-spinners, Shreyas Gopal and debutant Sudhesan Midhun, Lynn and Narine had put the game beyond the hosts. While the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers sit at the bottom of the table, RR are just a spot above them with a solitary win in five games. It leaves them with plenty to ponder about their game plan.

Buttler hasn’t looked as convincing and dominating as he was last year, plus in this year’s opener against Kings XI Punjab. Though he did get a 37, coming off 34 deliveries meant even KKR bowling wasn’t feeling the pinch. RR couldn’t switch gears even after his dismissal.

Smith, back after a one-year ban, was promoted to bat at number three but he clearly needs more time in the middle to go back to the old times when he was the most intimidating batsman in world cricket. Today, there were glimpses but like in Buttler’s case, the run rate didn’t help. Smith did get an unbeaten 73 but that took 59 deliveries. Maybe that will do his confidence some good for the remaining games but here it didn’t really help his team.

First Published: Apr 07, 2019 23:17 IST

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