IPL 2018: Spinners have a field day and other talking points as Kolkata Knight Riders breach Rajasthan Royals' fortress

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Kolkata eased away to a comprehensive win. Image - KKR/Twitter.

Kolkata Knight Riders brought an end to Rajasthan Royals‘ streak of nine consecutive IPL wins at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur as they eased away to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory.

Put into bat first after losing the toss, the hosts could only muster 160-8 on a good batting track. That was always going to be a tough total to defend against the batting line-up of the visitors who won with seven balls to spare in the end.

Here, we look at the key talking points of Kolkata’s impressive win.

SHORT’S STRUGGLES AGAINST SPIN

D’Arcy Short might have lit up the Big Bash league with a record-breaking season with the bat but his start to life in the IPL has been as poor as it gets. After being run-out for scores of 4 and 6 in his first two matches, Short could only muster 10 runs in his last outing to complete a horrendous run.

Sensing his vulnerabilities against the slower bowlers, Dinesh Karthik opened with spin at either end with the new ball. That gambit paid off as Short struggled to read the googlies of Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav. The Australian opener found it difficult to even get bat on ball as the dot-balls piled up.

In the end, the first three overs of the power-play yielded only nine runs with no boundaries to show for, a poor return for any limited-overs clash let alone a T20 match.

SUBLIME RAHANE MAKES UP FOR DARCY’S SHORTCOMINGS

As the run-rate pressure kept growing on the Royals after Short’s struggles against spin, skipper Ajinkya Rahane took it upon himself to break the shackles. The opener carted Sunil Narine for four successive boundaries to start the fourth over as the runs finally started to flow at the Sawai Mansingh stadium.

Those flowing boundaries off the West Indies spinner seemed to embolden Rahane and he played perhaps the shot of the match in the next over by Shivam Mavi, carting the India U19 pacer straight over his head for a six after advancing down the track.

It was due to Rahane’s burst that the Royals ended up with a decent score of 48-0 in the power-play after the shockingly slow start.

KOLKATA’S SPINNERS HAVE A BOWL BUT NARINE DISAPPOINTS

Kolkata Knight Rider’s spin-heavy contingent enjoyed a field day on the Jaipur wicket where the odd ball was keeping very low. While Chawla and Kuldeep were almost impossible to get away for runs, young Nitish Rana profited from that pressure with two big scalps of Rahane and Short. The youngster’s two overs of spin went for only 11 runs.

Chawla was the clear pick of the spinners as he finished with supremely economical figures of 1-18 from his overs while Kuldeep went at less than run-a-ball himself with figures of 1-23. The three spinners combined picked up 4-52 in the 10 overs between them and that ultimately proved to be the difference.

Kolkata’s ace spinner Narine had a day to forget though after Rahane’s assault on him with his four overs going for whopping 48 runs without fetching any wicket.

UTHAPPA’S MAGNIFICENCE SETS UP COMFORTABLE KOLKATA WIN

Chasing a modest target of 161, Kolkata Knight Riders were jolted by Chris Lynn’s dismissal for a golden duck in the first over of their innings itself. However, if Rajasthan Royals thought that breakthrough would open the floodgates, they were grossly mistaken as Robin Uthappa came to the crease like a man possessed.

The right-hander was timing the ball sweetly from the very start as he effortlessly found the boundary ropes with some crisp hitting. Finding able support from Narine at the other end, Uthappa whacked two big sixes and six boundaries as he raced away to 48. He fell short of what would have been an excellent century after a catch-of-the-season contender from Ben Stokes at the long-on boundary but his innings had knocked the stuffing out of Rajasthan as Kolkata cantered to an easy win.

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