CHENNAI, India (AP) — Kolkata Knight Riders rode on half centuries from its captain Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh to beat Chennai Super Kings by six wickets in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier routed Rajasthan Royals for 59, the third-lowest IPL cricket score, to secure a comprehensive 112-run victory at Jaipur.
Rana, dropped on 18, went on to score an unbeaten 57 off 44 balls and Singh (54) smashed his third half century of the season before getting run out as Kolkata strolled to 147-4 with nine balls to spare.
Chennai got squeezed for 144-6 on a slow surface with spinners Sunil Narine (2-15) and Varun Chakravarthy (2-36) doing most of the damage after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first.
The ploy to bring Chakravarthy in the powerplay earned Kolkata the key wicket of Ruturaj Gaikwad (17), and Ajinkya Rahane (16) also holed out at long off while going for a big hit against the spinner in the eighth over.
Devon Conway top-edged a pull against Shardul Thakur and got dismissed for 30 off 28. Shivam Dube (48 not out off 34) did the bulk of the scoring in the latter half of the innings, but Kolkata kept the scoring rate well under-par through pace and spin.
Deepak Chahar continued his sublime form with the new ball and picked up three wickets in the powerplay as Kolkata was reduced to 33-3 in the fifth over. Jason Roy and Venkatesh Iyer both got caught at short third man while going after Chahar, and Rahmanullah Gurbaz was brilliantly caught by running Tushar Deshpande at deep point.
Rana and Singh then combined in a 99-run stand – the biggest fourth-wicket stand against Chennai in the IPL at home -- as the game swayed in Kolkata’s favor. Matheesha Pathirana couldn’t hold onto a catch at deep square leg that could have dismissed Rana on 18 before Singh was finally run out with only 13 required for victory.
Chennai stayed at No. 2 with 15 points and is in a strong position to make the playoffs with the top four advancing. Kolkata, seventh with 12 points, needs to beat Lucknow Super Giants in its last league match and hope other results go in its favor.
BANGALORE ROUTS RAJASTHAN
Bangalore’s left-arm fast bowler Wayne Parnell (3-10) struck three times in the powerplay while spinners Michael Bracewell (2-16) and Karn Sharma (2-19) choked Rajasthan further before its innings ended at 59 in just 10.3 overs.
Captain Faf du Plessis (55) continued his run of superb form this season by smashing his seventh half century and Glenn Maxwell made 54 off 33 balls in Bangalore’s total of 171-5 after du Plessis read the slow pitch perfectly and elected to bat after winning the toss.
Anuj Rawat provided a perfect finish by hitting an unbeaten 29 off 11 balls, smashing fast bowler KM Asif for two sixes and a boundary off the final three balls.
“It was really good, we needed it (the win), in terms of the NRR,” du Plessis said. “Today was really good for the team and I am sure everyone will be extremely motivated for the next two matches.”
The victory moved Bangalore to No. 5 in the table with 12 points and also gave its net run-rate a massive boost. Rajasthan’s abject batting in a crucial league game pushed it into a tight corner with 12 points and only a game in hand.
Rajasthan’s young in-form batter Yashasvi Jaiswal, who hit the IPL’s fastest half century off 13 balls a couple of days ago, departed on Muhammed Siraj’s second ball as he couldn’t clear Virat Kohli at mid-on.
With the ball stopping on the slow surface, Parnell had Jos Buttler chipping a catch at cover point while captain Sanju Samson also mistimed a pull shot.
Rajasthan sunk further during the powerplay when Joe Root (10), playing his first IPL game, was trapped leg before wicket by Parnell and impact player Devdutt Padikkal was caught low by Siraj at midwicket.
Shimron Hetmyer top-scored with 35, featuring three successive sixes off Sharma, before he holed out in the deep off Maxwell prompting the Rajasthan innings to fold in a hurry, with the side losing its last three wickets without a run.
Earlier, du Plessis became the fourth overseas batter after AB de Villiers of South Africa, David Warner of Australia and Chris Gayle of West Indies to reach 4,000 IPL runs as he added 69 for the second-wicket stand with Maxwell.
Rajasthan fast bowlers didn’t let Bangalore accelerate by taking the pace off the deliveries with their knuckle balls with Kohli getting beaten by KM Asif (2-42), caught after scoring a run-a-ball 18.
Rawat and Maxwell revived the innings after a mini middle-order collapse that saw Bangalore losing three wickets in the space of five deliveries. Du Plessis was caught in the deep to give Asif his second wicket and Adam Zampa chipped in with two more in three balls.
Maxwell, who hit three sixes and five fours, was bowled out while going for a reverse shot against Sandeep Sharma’s full pitched delivery before Rawat provided a brisk finish that gave Bangalore the momentum it needed.
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