Skipper Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell helped Kolkata Knight Riders knock Rajasthan Royals out of this cricket season’s Indian Premier League with a 25-run win in the eliminator on Wednesday.
Karthik, who made 52, and Russell, who smashed 49 not out, helped Knight Riders to 169-7, a total their bowlers defended by restricting Royals to 144-4 at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla claimed two wickets including dangerman Sanju Samson for 50 to choke Royals out of the do-or-die contest of the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament.Skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who made 46, and Samson put on 62 runs for the second wicket as Royals’ chase looked on course at 109-1. But Rahane’s wicket spelt trouble for the 2008 champions.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who got Rahane caught and bowled, returned excellent figures of 1-18 to keep Knight Riders alive in the title race.
“We were initially under the pump, so good on us to come back,” Karthik said in the post-match presentation.
“The bowlers have picked their game and have bowled some good balls... Every game is important this stage. Next game, two good teams competing,” the wicketkeeper-batsman added.
Two-time champions Knight Riders will now meet Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second qualifier in Kolkata today to try and book a title clash with Chennai Super Kings.