Rajasthan Royals set an imposing target of 160 in front of Kokata Knight Riders to win. Considering that Royals have never failed to defend total above 145 runs in last three IPLs and also that Royals lead KKR in terms of head-to-head wins, the target was a big challenge in front of hostile Jaipur crowd. But Captain Gambhir and in-form Kallis joined hands to create history by completing record chase against Royals!!
Rajasthan Bats First
After batting first Rajasthan Royals reached 159/4 in their allotted 20 overs. Watson did join the playing XI, but was not sent to open. Rather Botha and Watson both had to wait till Maneria went into bat at Number 3. Wicketkeeper opener Paunikar again failed to impress scoring 9 runs in 15 balls. Bangaldeshi allrounder and captain Shakib made him hit the ball in the hand of Kallis. Dravid did his job of holding to one end scoring 34 ball 35 runs, before he and Maneria both were sent to pavillion in a one-over spell of Pathan. Watson coming at number 4 could score only 22 runs in 13 balls, as the run rate was too low.
Taylor with 25 ball 35 run with the help of 2 fours and 2 sixes took Rajasthan to what could be called as safe total for them. Both coming at number 6 remained not out for the third consectuvie match on 12 runs scored on 12 ball.
Knight Riders in A Clinical Chase
In the record chase, opener Bisla fell on a controvesial run out call. Gambhri joined Kallis and from then on despite using 7 bowlers Warne could not stop arch-rivals Kolkata Knight Riders from winning the match, in the end, comfortably, with 9 balls to spare. Gambhir and Kallis were involved in unbeaten 152 run 1st wicket partnership, a record for IPL 2011 edition. Kallis got the Orance Cap back from Valthaty of Kings XI.
Gambhir – The Player of the Match
There were questions about Gambhir not leading from the front in the first two matches. Even while fielding today, captaincy flaw were visible. Still seeing the tensed chase, Gambhir decided to lead from the front, coming at number 3. His 44-ball unbeaten 75 runs with 1 six and 11 fours, in the company of Kallis, who hit his third consecutive half-century of IPL 2011, he made the total look small.
Entry of Watson made lot of changes in Rajasthan Royals batting line up. Sending in-form Botha at number 6 probably costed them 30-odd runs. The arrival of Watson and the casual approach of placing him lower down the order probably costed Rajasthan Royals the match.
Gambhir’s captaincy has been not upto the mark and is giving tough time to chances of KKR. Yusuf took 1 wicket and gave just 4 runs in his one over. But he was never given the second over. Other bowlers did not maintain economy rate below 7 runs per over, still they got 4 overs to bowl. Probably, applying more pressure could have restricted RR below 140 runs.