Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav scalped four wickets to help Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) recover from a Powerplay blitz by Rajasthan Royals (RR) openers and skittle them out for 142 in 19 overs in a crunch Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.
In-form English wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler (39 from 22 balls; 5×4, 2×6) and Maharashtra’s Rahul Tripathi (27 from 15; 4×4, 1×6) toyed with the KKR pacers to race to 49/0 after three overs.
But once Andre Russell (2/13) got the wicket of Tripathi, it was all downhill for the away side as Kuldeep (4/20) saw off skipper Ajinkya Rahane (11), Buttler, Stuart Binny (1), and Ben Stokes (11) to rack up his best figures of the season.
The 23-year old, who had not been at his best before this game, took a wicket in each of his overs as Royals’ batsmen showed poor application and had only themselves to blame for the collapse.
The visitors got off to a dream start with Tripathi and Buttler taking Prasidh Krishna (2/35) and Shivam Mavi (1/44) to the cleaners.
While Tripathi, opening the batting after the off-colour D’Arcy Short was dropped, hit Krishna for a six and a hat-trick of fours, Buttler took a liking to Mavi, who leaked just two runs in the first over, smashing him for 28 runs in the third over.
Tripathi was dropped off the first ball of the match by Nitish Rana at wide slip off Mavi.
Mavi’s over was the season’s joint-most expensive one, with the U-19 World Cup winning pacer conceding 28 against Shreyas Iyer versus Delhi Daredevils as well.
KKR bled 46 runs in 10 balls as the pair brought up their 50-run stand in 20 balls.
Tripathi fell to Russell in the West Indian’s first over, hurrying on a pull and giving skipper Dinesh Karthik an easy catch behind the stumps. The opening wicket partnership was 63 off just 29 deliveries.
After six overs, Royals were 68/1 with 58 runs coming in boundaries (10 fours and three sixes).
Skipper Rahane’s poor form with the bat continued as he tried to reverse sweep Kuldeep but ended up losing his stumps.
Royals’ carnage was checked right after the halfway stage as Kuldeep removed Buttler who looked good to break Virender Sehwag’s record of five consecutive fifties.
The momentum swung the home team’s way as Narine trapped Sanju Samson (12) leg before to leave the inaugural champions tottering at 95/4.
Kuldeep then produced a sensational googly to outfox Binny and in his next over forced Stokes to miss the line bowling around the wicket.
Former KKR pacer Jaydev Unadkat tried to stem the rot with a 18-ball 26 before Krishna got his back.
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 142 all out in 19 overs (Jos Buttler 39, Kuldeep Yadav 4/20, Andre Russell 2/13, Prasidh Krishna 2/35) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.