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IPL 2022: Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh Inspire KKR to 7-wicket Victory Over RR; Keep Play-offs Hopes Alive

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Kolkata Knight Riders returned to the winning ways with a clinical 7-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Sunday. The two-time IPL champions broke their five-match losing streak with a collective performance against Sanju Samson and Co. A disciplined KKR bowling attack restricted the inaugural champions to 152/5 and then chased the target with ease in 19.1 overs.

Nitish Rana finished things off in style for KKR with a six as he remained unbeaten on 48 runs alongside Rinku Singh who scored quickfire 42 off 23 balls to make things a bit easier for his side. The win also kept KKR’s play-offs hopes alive as they moved to the seventh spot on the points table.

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KKR once again tried a new opening pair with Aaron Finch and Baba Indrajith but things didn’t work out well for them. The Aussie opener once again struggled against the pacer and was castled at 4 by fast bowling sensation Kuldeep Sen. While Indrajith also failed in his second match for KKR and was dismissed on 15 by Prasidh Krishna.

Skipper Shreyas Iyer (34) revived the chase for his team with a crucial 60-run stand for the third wicket with Rana. However, a brave DRS decision from Sanju Samson resulted in Iyer’s dismissal as he gloved Trent Boult’s delivery behind the stumps to the RR skipper. Boult had no idea about Iyer gloving it as the umpire gave him not out but Samson straightaway went for the review which worked in RR’s favour.

Rana then joined hands with young Rinku as the two southpaws took KKR to the victory line with a 66-run stand. Rana’s 37-ball stay was laced with 2 sixes and 3 fours, while the other southpaw slammed a six and 6 boundaries.

Earlier, KKR managed to restrict a quality RR batting line-up to 152/5 despite a fifty from Samson and a quickfire cameo from Shimron Hetmyer.

Samson’s 54 off 49 balls was the only saving grace, as wickets tumbled at regular intervals.

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KKR bowlers justified skipper Shreyas Iyer’s decision to ask the opposition to bat first with quick wickets.

A late onslaught by Hetmyer (27 not out off 13 balls) took Rajasthan beyond the 150-run mark.

RR lost opener Devdutt Padikkal (2) cheaply as pacer Umesh Yadav (1/24) grabbed a return catch in the third over.

Samson, who hit seven boundaries and a six, joined in-form Jos Buttler (22 off 25 balls; 3x4s) and the duo tried to rally the innings, sharing 48 runs for the second wicket as KKR bowlers didn’t allow RR batters to free their arms.

Samson carved through the point to get his first four in the fourth over as RR crawled to 12 for one.

Samson and Buttler tried to break the shackles in the fifth over, which fetched RR 15 runs. The duo hammered Umesh for three boundaries, with the skipper hitting two of them.

Samson lofted Anukul Roy (1/28) over deep extra cover for his first maximum as RR amassed 11 runs in the sixth over, scoring 38 runs in power-play. The RR skipper then cut Sunil Narine (0/19) for another boundary.

But RR slipped to 55 for two after pacer Tim Southee (2/46) removed a rusty looking Buttler, who was caught by Shivam Mavi at long on.

Rajasthan kept losing wickets at regular intervals as KKR managed to restrict them to a below-par score. It was a collective bowling performance from all bowlers but Southee was the standout with two crucial wickets of Jos Buttler and Riyan Parag.

(With Agency Inputs)

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