Due to Rinku Singh's all-around performance and Nitish Rana's brilliant batting display, Kolkata Knight Riders ended their five-match losing streak with a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on Monday evening at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Rinku grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he showed an outstanding fielding display capped with two catches in the first innings. And later, built a match-winning stand with Nitish Rana, which kept Kolkata's hopes alive for the playoffs.
Earlier, the Royals posted 152 onboard on the back of Sanju Samson's gritty 54 in 49 balls, followed by Riyan Parag's 19 off 12 and Shimron Hetmyer's blistering cameo of 27 runs in 13 balls towards the end which helped the side to pass 150 run mark.
Tim Southee picked two wickets in the game, while Anukul Roy, Umesh Yadav and Shivam Mavi had one wicket each under their belt. In response, Kolkata suffered an early blow in the form of Aaron Finch, who became a victim of inside edge and got bowled off Kuldeep Sen, but Baba Indrajit displayed a lot of confidence with a few beautiful shots.
However, Indrajit could not spend much time in the middle and departed after adding 15-runs in 16 balls. Shreyas Iyer (34 off 32) took the responsibility on his shoulder along with Nitish Rana as together they rescued their side from a sixth loss on the trot.
After the skipper's dismissal, Rinku Singh showed his class by playing some of the best shots in the match. He was rewarded Player of the Match for his match-winning 42 in just 23 balls complemented by his two catches. Let's take at some of the highlights from the game.
Sanju Samson's brave innings
The Royals skipper had no plans to surrender in front of Kolkata's tight bowling and fielding as he held his ground and kept adding runs on board. He built brief partnerships with three of the Royals batters, Jos Buttler (22 off 25), Karun Nair (54 off 49), and Riyan Parag (19 off 12), before giving away his prized wicket to Shivam Mavi in the 18th over of the game. Sanju Samson scored 54 with the help of seven boundaries and one maximum.
Economical bowling from Kolkata
It was a must-win game for Kolkata Knight Riders as they had already lost five games on the trot, and one more means their chances for playoffs will fade away. However, Umesh Yadav & Co. did the first thing right to keep the Royals batter at bay and was miserly with the ball along with providing the team breakthrough. While Sunil Narine had the best economy of 4.80, he returned with no wicket. Umesh Yadav (6.00), Anukul Roy (7.00) and Shivam Mavi (8.20) performed exceptionally well in the first innings, due to which Royals were restricted at 152. Tim Southee did concede 46 runs but also picked up 2 wickets.
The partnership between Rinku Singh and Nitish Rana
After Shreyas Iyer's rescue knock, Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh played one of the fine innings for his side to keep their hopes alive in the ongoing season. Both the batters looked in sublime form and outplayed Royals' quality bowling till the end. Rana scored 48 in 37 balls with the help of two maximums and three fours, while Singh's blistering 42 was studded with one maximum and six boundaries. A 66-run stand between both helped the side to eventually win the game by seven wickets. Rinku Singh was also rewarded with Player of the Match.