Shakib guides KKR to 5-wicket win over Royals

Biswajit Jha

Kolkata: Shakib Al Hasan took three wickets before playing a crucial little innings to inspire Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) a 5-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in an IPL league match at Eden Gardens on Friday.

It was KKR's second win in a row after having lost their first two matches of IPL 5.

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Chasing a moderate 132 to win, Kolkata had their hiccups before overpowering the Royals’ moderate total with four balls to spare.

When Manoj Tiwary was out for 24, the KKR were under a little bit of pressure (104/4, 16.3 overs). But Shakib played a cameo of 16 (10 balls, a four and a six) to make sure that KKR win it easily in the end.

14 runs needed off 12 balls. Rajasthan still had some hopes. Shakib heaved one over deep mid-wicket for a six to make the chase look very easy. Pathan then late cut one off the last ball of same over to make the scores level.

Just 1 runs needed from the last over. Ryan ten Doeschate, then hoicked the second ball of the last over for a six to seal the deal for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Despite restricting Royals to a decent 131, KKR innings did not start auspiciously as they lost skipper Gambhir (11) early. After that Kallis (31 off 38 balls) and Bisla (29 off 29 balls) steadied their innings with a 48-run stand.

Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders’ spin duo, Shakib Al Hasan (17/3) and Sunil Narine (22/1), bowled brilliantly to restrict Rajasthan Royals to a decent 131/5 in the allotted 50 overs after Rahul Dravid won the toss and decided to bat first on a slow and low Eden Gardens pitch.

KKR’s Bangladeshi recruit Shakib was instrumental in thwarting a rampaging Rajasthan Royals, who were going great guns before he came on to bowl. Rajasthan openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid, were cruising along nicely with 45 for no loss in just 6 overs.

At this stage, KKR skipper Gambhir handed the ball to the former Bangladesh captain, who did not disappoint his captain by picking up Rahane off the very first ball that spun from the middle to off, takeing outside edge of Rahane’s bat. Stumper Bisla took a smart catch to end the innings of the IPL 5’s highest run-getter for 19.

From then on, it was all KKR and Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib then consumed Dravid (28) and Shreevats Goswami (24). In between, flamboyant Ashok Menaria ran himself out for only 1.

Owais Shah (31 off 33 balls) tried to rebuild their innings single-handedly but he also did not break free throughout his entire innings as KKR bowlers, especially the spinners, bowled such impeccable line and length deliveries that their innings never got going.

Apart from the last over from Balaji (27/0) which fetched 15 runs, thanks to Johan Botha and Brad Hodge, Royals struggled to find boundaries.

In the end, they were restricted to a decent 131/5, a total some experts considered to be a fighting one on a turning Kolkata track.

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