IPL 2019: Livingstone, Unadkat down SRH as Rajasthan Royals live to fight another day

Ashish Peter 27/04/2019
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A fine cameo from Livingstone. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Sunrisers Hyderabad‘s 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) play-off hopes took a massive beating as Rajasthan Royals prevailed by seven wickets at Jaipur to live to fight another day.

Having to win at any cost to keep their slim play-off ambitions alive, Rajasthan chased down Sunrisers’ total of 160-8 with five balls to spare with Sanju Samson remaining unbeaten on 48.

It was the fifth loss in seven games for Hyderabad and although they still hold the fourth and final play-off spot in the table, they are now joined by Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals at 10 points apiece.

REVIVED PANDEY SLAMS SECOND CONSECUTIVE FIFTY

Sunrisers started in brisk fashion with the bat but a Shreyas Gopal googly saw the visitors lose skipper Kane Williamson early. With David Warner uncharacteristically struggling for boundaries at one end, it was Manish Pandey who ensured that Hyderabad remained on the front foot.

Having endured a miserable IPL campaign before exploding to life with an unbeaten 83 against CSK, Pandey made the most of his new-found form to rain boundaries at Jaipur.

Pandey brought up his second consecutive fifty off just 27 deliveries showing equal aggression against both pacers and spinners. While Warner failed to find a single boundary in his 32-ball stay at the crease, Pandey found the ropes on nine occasions to keep the rate of scoring at around 10 runs an over.

MUCH-MALIGNED UNADKAT LEADS RAJASTHAN FIGHTBACK

Hyderabad were cruising at 121-2 with Pandey firing on all cylinders before Steve Smith pulled off a sensational running catch to dismiss his compatriot Warner.

That wicket brought one more in no time with Pandey becoming Gopal’s second dismissal. Still, SRH were in an excellent position to cash in at the death overs but some excellent bowling and fielding led by Jaydev Unadkat saw the hosts come bounding back.

The left-arm seamer had been branded as the most expensive flop in the IPL by many but he finally showed his prowess on Saturday with the crucial wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Deepak Hooda. Unadkat was also excellent in the field with two superb catches as well with his contributions seeing SRH lose all steam in the death overs.

LIVINGSTONE FIRES TO PAVE WAY FOR RAJASTHAN WIN

A chase of even 161 against a formidable SRH bowling attack was never going to be an easy one but the blistering pace with which Rajasthan’s openers Liam Livingstone and Ajinkya Rahane attacked the powerplay overs meant that it was a cakewalk in the end for the hosts.

Featuring in only his second IPL outing, Livingstone launched a sensational attack on Hyderabad’s bowlers with the right-hander plundering three sixes and four boundaries in his 44-run cameo.

60 runs were added by the two openers in the powerplay with their stand extending to 78 before Livingstone finally fell to Rashid Khan. However, the platform set by Livingstone meant that the rest of the Rajasthan batsmen only had to go at run-a-ball to achieve victory and they made no mistake in that regard.

BRIEF SCORES

Sunrisers Hyderabad: 160-8

Manish Pandey: 61 (36)

Jaydev Unadkat: 2-26

Rajasthan Royals: 161-3

Sanju Samson: 48 not out (32)

Liam Livingstone: 44 (26)

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Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell roles under the microscope as slumping Kolkata Knight Riders face Mumbai Indians

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Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard.

Two teams with contrasting fortunes face off on Sunday at Eden Gardens as Mumbai Indians show up in Kolkata on the back of a clinical win over table-topping Chennai Super Kings that gave them some breathing room in the race for the IPL 2019 playoff spots.

Kolkata Knight Riders, on the other hand, have lost six straight after a demoralising defeat to Rajasthan Royals in their last outing, throwing away a good start to the season and leaving their playoff hopes in peril.

A loss to Mumbai won’t be terminal, but it would leave them needing to win all their remaining games after not winning for three weeks.

POLLARD, RUSSELL FACE OFF…OR NOT

Both sides have two power-hitting West Indian all-rounders who are being underused by their teams. There have been calls for Andre Russell to bat at No 4 for KKR, and the same suggestion has been made for Mumbai Indians with Kieron Pollard – though calling him an all-rounder when he hasn’t bowled a ball this season is a stretch.

Russell is still Kolkata’s leading scorer and sixth on the IPL’s overall charts for this season – which shows how much the Knight Riders’ top order has struggled. Bringing him up the order could be the shot in the arm their playoff hopes need.

Meanwhile, Mumbai’s top order has been consistent if not always explosive, and they’ve had Hardik Pandya for that. Since his match-winning 83 off 31 against Kings XI Punjab, Pollard has played five innings and not faced more than 12 deliveries, including two occasions where he came to the crease but didn’t face a ball.

KKR’S INDIAN BOWLERS UNDER SCRUTINY

While much has been made of Kolkata’s top-order struggles, their bowling woes have gone somewhat under the radar, yet they have the worst death-bowling economy of all teams this season. When you’re worse than Royal Challengers Bangalore in that department you have a problem.

Promising seamer Prasidh Krishna has struggled in the death – his last 1.2 overs against Rajasthan went for 23 runs – but KKR have had issues with most of their Indian bowlers, apart from Piyush Chawla. They went as far as to drop Kuldeep Yadav for the last game after the left-arm wrist-spinner’s horror season, with his latest outing leaving him in tears.

Yet his replacement, left-arm pacer Prithvi Raj, didn’t fare much better, and it might be that Yadav is in line for a swift recall. Mumbai opener Rohit Sharma has had well-documented struggles against spin, and Chawla and Yadav bowling in tandem could be the best strategy against the Indians skipper.

LIKELY XIs

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Carlos Brathwaite, Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, M Prasidh Krishna

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah

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IPL 2019: Russell calls on KKR to make better decisions on field vs Mumbai Indians

Sudhir Gupta 27/04/2019
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KKR all-rounder Andre Russell. Image credit - Sportzpics/BCCI.

With six losses on the bounce in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, time is fast running out for Kolkata Knight Riders to salvage their play-off hopes. On Sunday, Dinesh Karthik and his men will up against a rampant Mumbai Indians who could go top of the league standings with another win.

All throughout their campaign, KKR have been heavily reliant on star all-rounder Andre Russell to bail them out of tricky situations but that luck ran out a long time ago with the side now in a perennial slide.

Russell alone has contributed with 406 runs and eight wickets in the IPL 2019 campaign but the Windies man has called for better decision making from the rest of his team-mates ahead of the Mumbai clash.

“We have a good team,” Russell told the media on the eve of the clash.

“But having a good team and making bad decisions, I think you will always lose games. And that’s what we’ve been doing,” he added.

Kolkata were close to bringing their losing streak to a halt in their last match against Rajasthan but failed to defend a 175-run total despite reducing the opposition to 123-6.

At pains to explain where it has all gone wrong for KKR, Russell said, “I could pinpoint a few games where if we’d just looked to bowl tighter, and bowl bowlers who would restrict the game – the right bowlers at the right time.”

“They say our batting has been struggling, but our batting hasn’t been struggling really. We get the totals that we should defend, and we should restrict teams to lesser totals and go in and get those runs.

“And we don’t really take our catches, we’ve been the worst fielding team so far. It’s plain on TV, everyone’s seeing it.”

It will be the first meeting of the season between the two sides who are slate to clash once again just a week later at Mumbai.

LIKELY XIs

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c and wk), Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, Prithvi Raj, Prasidh Krishna

Mumbai Indians: Quinton de Kock (wk), Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Anukul Roy, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.

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