Kolkata Knight Riders crushed Rajasthan Royals by 8 wickets in Jaipur on Sunday and replaced defending champions Chennai Super Kings at the top of the points table in the 2019 Indian Premier League.
Harry Gurney starred for KKR on debut and picked 2 for 25 off his 4 overs before Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn powered the team to victory.
Dinesh Karthik won the toss and invited Rajasthan Royals to bat on what looked like a slow pitch. Piyush Chawla, the leg-spinnner, was given the new ball and he bowled beautifully up front. Chawla’s 4 overs cost only 19 runs while Sunil Narine gave away only 22 off his 4 overs.
But it was Harry Gurney who made the major impact with the wickets of Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi after M Prasidh Krishna had removed Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane in only the second over.
Jos Buttler and Steve Smith ensured RR did not suffer any more damage but their scoring rate left them far behind in the game against a power-packed KKR batting unit.
When Buttler fell to Gurney for a 34-ball 37, RR needed the likes of Tripathi, Ben Stokes and Steve Smith to explode.
Instead, Tripathi was out for 6 off 8 balls while Ben Stokes managed only 7 off 14 balls. The bulk of the scoring was left to Steve Smith who hit his first IPL fifty since his return from the ball-tampering ban.
Steve Smith found the gaps with precision and remained unbeaten on 73 off 59 balls – his innings was studded with 7 fours and 1 six.
Had it not been for Smith’s deft placement and sharp thinking, RR would have finished with a lot less than their eventual 139 for 3 off 20 overs.
Rajasthan Royals would be left to rue the fact that they did not accelerate earlier despite the presence of some big hitters lower down the order.
A target of 140 was not really going to test KKR who had gunned down 206 against Royal Challengers Bangalore two days ago. Sunil Narine (47) and Chris Lynn (50) powered the Knight Riders to a rapid start. The pair added 91 for the first wicket before Narine fell to Shreyas Gopal in the 9th over.
Gopal struck again in his 3rd over to snare Chriss Lynn but KKR needed only 25 off 9 overs and it was only a matter of time before KKR won the fourth out of their five matches in the 2019 Indian Premier League.