The eliminator match of IPL 2018 saw Kolkata Knight Riders take on Rajasthan Royals. The winner of this match would go on to face Sunrisers Hyderabad for a chance to play Chennai Super Kings in the finals of the tournament.
Rajasthan Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane won a crucial toss and chose to field first on a trademark Eden Gardens pitch. Both sides decided to go in unchanged.
K Gowtham wielded his magic leg-spinners again and accounted for Narine (4) and Uthappa (3) out cheaply. Archer got rid of Rana (3) and Gopal had Lynn caught and bowled for 18. However skipper Dinesh Karthik (52 off 38 balls; 4x4s, 2x6s) and Shubman Gill (28) stabilized the innings for Andre Russell to come in and do his demolition job.
Russell destroyed the RR bowlers, especially Ben Laughlin (2/35 in 3 overs), as he scored 49* off 25 balls with 3 fours and 5 sixes. Unadkat also came in for some special treatment from Russell and went for 33 runs in 2 overs. KKR ended up with 169/7 in 20 overs. Gowtham (2/15) and Archer (2/33) were the best bowlers from Royals’ armory.
Rajasthan Royals might have felt that they gave away 20 more runs than they would have liked and Rahane and Tripathi started off confidently. Rahane made 46 off 41 balls (4 fours and 1 six) and Tripathi 20 (13 balls) took RR to 47 in the 6th over, before Chawla dismissed Tripathi. Kuldeep accounted for Rahane, putting the responsibility of scoring the runs on Samson and Klaasen.
Samson scored 50 off 38 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes, before Chawla had him caught by Searles. In the end it came down to 40 runs off the last two overs, as KKR bowlers strangled the RR batting lineup.
In the end KKR won the match easily, as RR batting just choked in the second half of the innings against the spin might of Kolkata team. They could hit just one boundary in the last 4 overs of the match, which came on the last ball of their innings.
Now KKR will face SRH in the second qualifier on May 25 at Kolkata.
KKR 169/7 (D KARTHIK 52; K GOWTHAM 2/15) defeated RR 144/4 (S SAMSON 50; P CHAWLA 2/24) by 25 runs