All-round KKR down RR for third win of IPL 2018

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KKR picked up their second win on the bounce to gather some sort of momentum as they breached Rajasthan Royals’ fortress at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, on Wednesday (April 18). Although RR’s openers got good scores, the majority of their batting was tied down by KKR spinners, restricting them to 160 in 20 overs.

The chase was a walk in the park with everyone, barring Chris Lynn, making contributions. In the end, the tourists won their third game to move to the top of the points table – albeit having played two extra matches than Sunrisers Hyderabad, who also have three wins.

How short of ideas against spin is D’Arcy?

The Big Bash-er from Australia, D’Arcy Short, was one of the most awaited players in this year’s IPL auction but his 21 runs from the first three innings showed that the left-hander was not very comfortable with Indian conditions, especially against the spinners. KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik had noted it down well as he unleashed his spinners right from the word go.

KKR at one point in time, Short had only 4 runs to show in the first three overs, all bowled by spinners. By the time he’d get out, he had faced 28 deliveries from the spinners to score only 18. Off the 15 he faced from pacers, he scored 26. Although Ajinkya Rahane with a short burst at the top tried to redeem his partner, eventually, Short’s languid start had a big bearing on RR’s final score.

How did KKR apply the brakes on RR?

As easily as KKR switched to pace last year, they have traced their path back to their original strength – spin – this year. Karthik has smartly employed his spinners whenever his pacers have gone for runs. If Vinay Kumar leaked runs in the first couple of games, Karthik put a leash around the batsmen by getting Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav in early. On Wednesday night though, he bowled spin from both ends, a step further from the last game where he just opened with Chawla. Of course, the presence of top-class T20 spinners has helped, but when Narine was smashed by Rahane, Karthik brought his lucky partnership breaker from the opening game – Nitish Rana, to do the job. In the 10 overs shared between Chawla, Kuldeep and Rana, KKR conceded only 52 runs and picked up four wickets, making a world of difference.

Is there no stopping Narine?

Narine (KKR) has shown greater hitting ability against the slower bowlers, so pace is the way forward against him for oppositions. However, not Dhawal Kulkarni’s pace, unless if it is directed well. After a few swings and misses, and a few hits straight to the fielder, Narine went over the fielder during the powerplay overs and got three boundaries in a row. He would hit a six and a four more before departing for a 25-ball 34, doing enough damage in a relatively modest chase.

Robin Uthappa (KKR player) has been in good form this season, with the only exception of not playing on big after getting off to crisp starts. It has already been the case in two games and while he could have made it big in Jaipur as well, his 48 served his team KKR enough momentum to win the game. Showing great game awareness and a tad bit of familiarity with new statemate Jaydev Unadkat, Uthappa (KKR) got going in the fifth over, hitting him for three fours. His clean striking against leggie Shreyas Gopal, that fetched him two sixes, also ensured that skipper Rahane had a lot more thinking to do. He may have missed out on a fifty, getting out for 48, but at 102 in 12.3 overs, it was KKR’s game to lose.

KKR have now won two games on the bounce and with that momentum, they return home to face off against Kings XI Punjab on April 21. RR will make a quick trip to Pune to take on Chennai Super Kings the day after.

Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 160/8 in 20 overs (D’Arcy Short 44; Nitish Rana 2-11, Tom Curran 2-19) lost to KKR 163/3 in 18.5 overs (Robin Uthappa 48; Krishnappa Gowtham 2-23) by seven wickets.

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