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Homechevron_rightSportschevron_rightIPL 2024: Rajasthan...

IPL 2024: Rajasthan beat Kolkata by two wickets

IPL 2024: Rajasthan beat Kolkata by two wickets

Kolkata: Jos Buttler, who was brought in as an Impact Substitute due to an injury, scored an incredible century through counterattacking to surpass Sunil Narine's equally captivating maiden T20 hundred. Rajasthan Royals defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by two wickets in the Indian Premier League's Match 31 at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday.

Buttler, who had missed the previous match due to a niggle, hammered an unbeaten 107 off 60 balls -- his second century on IPL 2024, blasting nine boundaries and six maximums as Rajasthan Royals raced to 224/8 in 20 overs after Narine blazed to a 49-ball hundred, his highest score in T20 cricket, that his maiden century, a 56-ball 109 that had helped KKR reach a massive 223/6. Besides hitting a mesmerizing century, Narine picked two wickets and also grabbed a catch for a sensational all-round display, but Buttler topped it all with his superb century.

Rajasthan Royals looked down and out at 121/6 in the 13th over, but Buttler found an ally in Rovman Powell, who blasted a 13-ball 26 triggering a counterattack as they launched an audacious chase. Powell was out but Buttler continued with his brilliant batting despite looking drained of energy and limping and jogging for runs.

Buttler struck his second century off the season after making 100 not out Royal Challengers Bengaluru on April 6, reaching the mark in 55 balls as he nursed the tail to guide Rajasthan Royals to a brilliant victory and maintained their hold on the top position with 12 points from seven matches. KKR remained on eight points from six matches. This is Buttler's seventh hundred in IPL, going past Chris Gayle with only Virat Kohli up head.

Chasing a big target, Rajasthan Royals bolstered their batting by bringing in Buttler as an Impact Substitute. However, they were soon in trouble as fellow opener Yashasvi Jaiswal was out for 19 off nine balls with the team score reading 22/1 in the second over.

Jaiswal hammered three fours and one six in his brief innings, indicating that RR were going to go for the target. Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson took the score to 47 before the skipper went back to the dug-out, unable to capitalise on life as he could manage only 12 off eight balls.

The 33-year-old Buttler finally found a willing partner in young Riyan Parag as they raised fifty runs in 21 balls to take the score to 97. Parag blazed to 34 off 14 balls, hitting four boundaries and two maximums as they kept Rajasthan in the hunt. He struck a six and a four off Vaibhav Arora and handed the same treatment to Harshit Rana in the eighth over. However, he was out at the most inappropriate time for RR as Rana had his revenge as he holed out to Andre Russell at deep midwicket.

Rajasthan Royals suffered a collapse in the middle overs, losing three quick wickets as Dhruv Jurel (2), Ravichandran Ashwin (8) and Shimron Hetmyer (0) fell in quick succession, as Varun Chakravarthy claimed two wickets off successive balls.

But just when it looked like KKR were getting into the driver's seat, Jos Buttler, who was waging a lone battle, found a willing partner in Rovman Powell as they raised a 57-run partnership in double-quick times as they gave chase in right earnest. Powell blasted 26 off 13 balls before he was trapped by Sunil Narine.

Buttler continued his brilliant counterattack as he not only went on to complete his century but also guided Rajasthan Royals to a memorable victory, shielding the tailenders even when he limped and looked drained. The Englishman hammered Harshit Rana for two sixes interspersed by a four off Harshit Rana and took a double and single off the last two balls as he scored 19 runs in the penultimate over.

KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer handed the ball to Varun Chakravarthy to bowl the last over and with nine needed off six balls, Buttler dug out a thumping six to complete his century. Chakravarthy then bowled three dot balls before Buttler placed the ball in wide long-off for two runs to tie the scores. Off the final delivery of the match, Buttler scampered for a single to seal victory for Rajasthan Royals.

Asked to bat first by Rajasthan Royals, Narine blasted his highest score in the shortest format of the game as he raced to his century off 49 balls, becoming only the third KKR batter to score a century in IPL and the first home batter to score a hundred at the Eden Gardens in IPL. Narine used his trademark stand-and-hit style of batting as he muscled the bowlers to the boundary to eventually score 109 off 56 balls, studded with 13 boundaries and six maximums.

KKR got off to a good start despite losing Phil Salt early as they raced to 56/1 in the Power-play thanks mainly to West Indies dasher Sunil Narine and young Angkrish Raghuvanshi (30 off 18 balls), who was promoted in the order. Narine was his usual self, going after the bowling, hitting the square of the wicket and not afraid to give it air and clear the rope. After two fine fours off Avesh Khan, the left-hander planted Kuldeep Sen into the stands with a pull that went high into the sky and followed it up with a stylish boundary in the sixth over.

Ravichandran Ashwin was hit for back-to-back boundaries through cover and point region in the eighth over while Yuzvendra Chahal was smoked over long-off for a big six. In the ninth over, Narine ramped Ashwin over long-off to complete his fifty off 29 balls, hitting five boundaries and three maximums. KKR reached 101/1 at the halfway stage.

But they lost a couple of wickets in quick succession, Raghuvanshi returning to the dugout after adding 85 runs for the second-wicket partnership with Narine. Raghuvanshi, who hammered Boult for three well-timed and well-executed boundaries in the fifth over also benefitted when Riyan Parag misfielded in the long-on region. The 18-year-old Delhi-born batter, who plays for Mumbai at the domestic level, was pure timing and technique and not just power as he scored 30 off 18.

From 106/2, KKR slumped to 133/3 as skipper Shreyas Iyer was trapped LBW by Chahal. But the setbacks did not matter much for Sunil Narine as the West Indies allrounder continued with his power-hitting, hammering shots around the ground as he raced to his century.

Narine blasted Ashwin for a four and six off back-to-back deliveries in the 12th over despite the off-spinner trying to bowl wide. Chahal, RR's other spinner, Chahal was hammered for 23 runs in the 16th over, hitting him for two sixes and two fours off successive deliveries as he danced down the track to blast a leg-break over long-off and followed it up with a boundary straight over the bowler's head.

A wide ball later, a poor delivery by Chahal was hit flat for a six and followed up by a four again, pulled to the midwicket boundary, as Narine raced to his maiden century off 49 balls. This is only the third century by a KKR batter and the first by a home batter at the Eden Gardens in 84 matches.

He and his compatriot Andre Russell added 51 runs for the fourth wicket off 18 balls as KKR prospered in the middle overs. Russel was out for 13, caught by Dhruv Jurel off the first ball as Avesh Khan came back into attack.

Boult ended Narine's masterpiece for 109 off 56 balls, studded with 13 boundaries and six maximums. Boult cleaned him up with a fine yorker but Narine had done the damage by that time, helping KKR reach 195/5 in the 19th over.

Rinku Singh (20 off 9 balls) blasted a couple of lusty hits as KKR reached 223/6 in 20 overs, giving the two-time champions a defendable total.

Avesh Khan was the best bowler for Rajasthan with 2-35 while Trent Boult was miserly at 1-31 in his four overs. Yuzvendra Chahal was hammered for 1-54 off his four overs, Narin doing most of the damage by slogging him for 23 runs in one over.

Brief scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders 223/6 in 20 overs (Sunil Narine 109, Angkrish Raghuvanshi 30; Avesh Khan 2-35, Trent Boult 1-31) lost to Rajasthan Royals 224/8 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 107 not out, Riyan Parag 34, Rovman Powell 26; Sunil Narine 2-30, Varun Chakravarthy 2-36, Harshit Rana 2-45) by two wickets.

With inputs from IANS

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