Published: April 9, 2020 4:29:09 pm
The 13th season of Indian Premier League (IPL) was originally scheduled to kick off on March 29. The spread of the COVID-19 virus has resulted in an indefinite postponement, with the possibility of it being cancelled. So we’re reliving some of the best clashes between the franchises and standout performances. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Rajasthan Royals (RR) was set to be the blockbuster match of the day (April 9) as per the original schedule.
As per the IPL 2020 schedule, Steve Smith’s Rajasthan Royals would have played Dinesh Karthik’s Kolkata Knight Riders. Since the inception of the tournament, the two teams have had many close contests.
Head to Head
KKR and RR have faced each other in 20 times since 2008 of which Rajasthan have won nine, while Kolkata won 11 contests. One match in the 2015 season was abandoned.
Rajasthan were unbeaten in their first three clashes against Kolkata, but since then the Knight Riders have enjoyed more success. KKR have won four of the five last clashes between the two teams.
Five best contests
1. Match won on higher boundary count (2014 – 19th match at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi)
The IPL was being played in Abu Dhabi due to the general elections and the 19th match of the tournament was a memorable one.
KKR needed only 16 off 12 balls with six wickets in hand, when their middle and lower order collapsed against James Faulkner in the penultimate over. However, Shakib Al Hasan forced the match into a Super Over. After scoring 12 in their over, KKR were undoubtedly certain star spinner Sunil Narine could defend it. But with three needed to win off the last ball, Steve Smith drove the ball to extra cover and ran an easy two, levelling the match again. The Royals won, having scored more boundaries in the match.
Cricket fans were reminded of the match during the England vs New Zealand World Cup final in 2019. And like the Royals, England won the match due to a higher boundary count. It prompted the ICC to change the rule and now if two teams are tied following a Super Over in the final or semi-final of a tournament, a new Super Over will be played and repeated until there is a clear winner.
2. IPL’s first tie (2009 – 10th match at Newlands, Cape Town)
After the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the IPL was shifted to South Africa and the two teams clashed in the 10th match at Cape Town.
Winning the toss, KKR put then defending champions RR in to bat. Yusuf Pathan (42 off 21) was the top scorer, and Royals could only put 150/6 on the board. In reply, the Knight Riders’ batting also collapsed. It was Chris Gayle’s 41 off 33 and Sourav Ganguly’s 30-ball 46 that resulted in Kolkata scoring 150/8, taking the match to a Super Over.
Kamran Khan bowled the super over for RR and conceded 15 runs to Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum. In response, Pathan smashed 18 runs off the first four balls of Ajantha Mendis, which included two sixes and a four.
Yusuf deservedly was the Man of the Match for helping his team recover from 14 for 2 in 2.2 overs. In addition to his big hitting, he only conceded 12 runs in his first three overs.
3. Shane Watson stands tall with 104* (2015 – 54th match at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai)
Rajasthan Royals were set up by Shane Watson’s 59-ball 104*. He smashed nine boundaries and five maximums at a strike rate of 176.27 to score his second T20 ton. The score remains the highest individual score in clashes involving both teams till date.
Chasing 200, the Knight Riders had a bad start after openers Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa were dismissed in the first three overs. But after a disciplined beginning, Royals’ seamers bowled 18 wides and there were notable cameos from Pathan and Andre Russell. Needing 16 off the last six balls, Umesh Yadav tried to smash the team out of trouble and despite an unbeaten 24 off 11 balls, the team fell short by nine runs.
With the victory Rajasthan Royals booked their spot in the playoffs, but also dumped the Knight Riders out of contention.
4. Emergence of Riyan Parag (2019 – 43rd Match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata)
Kolkata managed to get to a total of 175 primarily thanks to captain Dinesh Karthik’s valiant 97 not out off just 50 deliveries, which included nine sixes and seven fours.
After Steve Smith and Ben Stokes were dismissed, Kolkata might have fancied their chances but it was to be teenager Riyan Parag’s day. He put together a 44 run partnership with England all-rounder Jofra Archer for the seventh wicket. The 18-year-old hit five fours and two sixes in his 31-ball 47 before he was dismissed.
Needing nine of six, Archer proved he was up to the task. First he edged Prasidh Krishna for a four, and then he smacked him over wide long-off for the winning runs. It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Knight Riders.
5. Lakshmipathy Balaji runs riot (2011 – 17th match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata )
Seven years after causing trouble for Pakistani batsmen at home, L Balaji produced a magical spell in the IPL 2011 against Rajasthan Royals.
Balaji dismissed the dangerous Shane Watson in his first spell before he returned to sink the lower order. The delivery that took out Watson was one of his best. The fast bowler who had come back from a career-threatening back problem, later returned to remove Ajinkya Rahane with an in-cutter and dismissed Ashok Menaria when he tried an upper cut that just only went as far as third man. Balaji finished with figures of 3-15 in three overs, and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan’s took 2-21 in his four overs to ensure the Royals were bundled out for 81 in 15.2 overs.
In reply, skipper Guatam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary took KKR to a comfortable win in 13.5 overs. Balaji, deservedly, was the Man of the Match for his performance.
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