Keeping slim playoff hopes alive, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will enjoy their Sunday night as they attained a resounding 60-runs victory over Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Dubai. For RR another campaign ended without qualifying for the play-offs.

Captain Eoin Morgan displayed with his bat while Pat Cummins justified his multi-million dollar price tag as KKR gave an all-round performance. Morgan’s power-packed 68 not out off 35 balls with half a dozen of sixes and five boundaries had helped Kolkata Knight Riders cruise to 191 for 7.

Then when Rajasthan came in to chase, Cummins poured hell on the RR batsmen (4/29) to produce a deadly opening spell. He rattled the Royals and they could only muster 131 for 9.

Varun Chakravarthy (2/20 in 4 overs) too showed character since his India call-up and produced another note-worthy performance. As for RR, Jos Buttler (35) and Rahul Tewatia (31) were the only notable contributors for Royals.

Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik was also the highlight of the clash as he had four catches on the day.

Earlier, after RR put KKR to bat first, Shubman Gill (36) and Rahul Tripathi (39) shared a 72-run stand for the second wicket, with Nitish Rana again departing for a duck. Andre Russell too had an 11-ball-25 to his credit.

For Royals, leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia (3/25) and Kartik Tyagi (2/36) were the most successful bowlers.

Gill looked in good touch as he blasted three boundaries off Varun Aaron and then sent spinner Shreyas Gopal soaring twice. Tripathi who looked uncomfortable at first got into the act and smashed Gopal for a couple of fours. 

The two batsmen hit one four each off Aaron as KKR scored 55 for one in the powerplay. However, all partnership was broken when Rahul Tewatia struck twice, dismissing Gill and Sunil Narine (0) to reduce KKR to 74 for 3 in 9 overs. 

In the 13th over, Gopal returned to remove Tripathi. Dinesh Karthik (0) then became the third victim of Tewatia as KKR slumped to 99 for 5. Morgan, however, did not wait to settle as he exploded, smashing Gopal for two fours and as many as sixes as KKR piled up 21 in the 14th over.

Russell too blasted successive sixes before being sent back by Kartik Tyagi. In the 19th over, KKR racked up 24 runs off Stokes with Morgan picking up two sixes and a four. Morgan then ended the innings with another six off the last ball.

KKR have now finished the league stage with 14 points from 14 games with a net run-rate of -0.214. They currently sit on the fourth spot in the table for a day.

Their entry into the play-offs will now depend on the result of the matches between Delhi Capitals (-0.159) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (-0.145) as well as Sunrisers Hyderabad’s (+0.555) clash against defending champions Mumbai Indians, who have already qualified.

In case, SRH wins, KKR’s chances of qualification will hinge on a real poor defeat for either DC or RCB in their particular game.

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