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A clinical Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Rajasthan Royals by 25 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator on Wednesday, setting up a clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Friday’s Qualifier 2.

Defending 169 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata bowlers restricted Rajasthan to 144/4 to register a comfortable victory.
Spinners Piyush Chawla (2/24) and Kuldeep Yadav (1/18) led the hosts’ attack and was well supported by their pacers, especially Prasidh Krishna (1/28). Sanju Samson (50) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (46) added an impressive 62 runs for Rajasthan but failed to take their team home.

Rahane and Rahul Tripathi gave Rajasthan a solid start to their chase as the duo added 47 runs in just five overs. Tripathi smacked two back-to-back sixes off Sunil Narine (0/39), who had a forgettable night, as the West Indian conceded 15 runs in his first over.

Chawla broke the partnership dismissing Tripathi (20) in the final Powerplay over.

Rahane along with Samson kept the momentum going taking Rajasthan to 87/1 at the halfway mark. They soon completed fifty-run stand to take the score past 100-run mark in the 13th over.

When everything looked to be going Rajasthan’s way, Rahane gave away a simple return catch to Kuldeep in the 15th over. Rahane, who added 62 for the second wicket with Samson, hit a six and four boundaries in his 41-ball innings.

Rajasthan sank further when Samson fell to Chawla soon after scoring his fifty off 35 balls, making the equation a tough 43 off 18 balls.

In the next over, Krishna gave away just three runs while sending Stuart Binny back off the last ball. Needing 40 off 12 balls, Rajasthan could all managed just 15 ending their journey in IPL 11.

Earlier, skipper Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell revived Kolkata Knight Riders with magnificent batting as the hosts recovered from a disastrous start to post a challenging 169/7.

Sent in to bat, Kolkata had their worst start of the season with K Gowtham (2/15 in three overs) and Jofra Archer (2/33) reducing them to 46/3 inside the powerplay but Karthik continued his sublime form to lead them to safety with a 38-ball 52, containing four fours and two sixes.

After Karthik’s departure, Russell came up with his destructive 29-ball unbeaten 49, studded with three boundaries and five sixes.
The sixes however were a rarity in the first half of Kolkata innings and it was only in the 14th over that Shubman Gill hit the first shot over the ropes in his crucial fifth wicket partnership with Karthik. Karthik and Gill (28 off 17 balls) added 55 runs in 38 balls.

From being 63/4 midway into the innings, Kolkata brilliantly stepped on the gas in the second-half, scoring 106 runs in the last 10 overs with Russell in charge of the proceedings.

Jaydev Unadkat, who leaked 33 runs from his two overs, was a big letdown from Rajasthan’s perspective as the Rahane-led side could not choke the hosts despite a sound start.

Starting the proceedings for Rajasthan, Gowtham left Kolkata in tatters with a twin blow of Sunil Narine (4) and Robin Uthappa (3) in his first two overs before Archer ensured their lowest powerplay score of the season — 46/3 — dismissing Nitish Rana (3).

There was more misery in store for Kolkata as Chris Lynn (18) also did not survive long. KKR’s top four batsmen folded for 51 in eight overs.

Just when their ship looked to sink in front of a shell-shocked capacity Eden crowd, Karthik found a fine ally in Gill to revive their innings.

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 169/7 (Dinesh Karthik 52; K Gowtham 2/15) beat Rajasthan Royals 144/4 (Sanju Samson 50; Piyush Chawla 2/24) by 25 runs

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