Champions of 2012 and 2014, Kolkata are almost into the playoffs after defeating Rajasthan by 86 runs in match no. 54 of the Indian T20 League 2021. After setting a target of 172, Kolkata’s bowlers put up a terrific performance to bundle out Rajasthan for 85 runs. Let’s look at the major talking points from the game
Shubman Gill top scores for Kolkata
After a few poor knocks, Kolkata opener Shubman Gill’s form was slowly coming under the scanner. Gill scored 13 vs Mumbai, 9 vs Chennai, 30 vs Delhi and 7 vs Punjab before scoring a fine half-century against Hyderabad. Gill continued from where he left and scored a second successive fifty in the game against Rajasthan. Although the right-hander started his innings cautiously, he improved his strike rate in the middle overs and ended his innings with four 4s and two 6s. This is the ninth fifty for Gill in his Indian T20 League career of 55 matches. He now has 352 runs this season at an average of 25.14. Gill’s strike rate of 119.32, however, hasn’t been too impressive.
Venkatesh Iyer’s slow but significant knock
Gill’s opening partner Venkatesh Iyer, who is averaging almost 40 in his debut Indian T20 league season, scored 38 runs off 35 balls at a strike rate of 108.57 on the slow Sharjah surface. But wickets in hand helped the rest in the batting line-up to play fearlessly. Coming in at no. 2, Nitish Rana scored 12 off five balls, hitting a six and a four each.
Rahul Tripathi’s cameo
The batsman from Maharashtra has played some crucial knocks for Kolkata in the middle order all through the season. Against Rajasthan, Rahul Tripathi scored 14 runs off 21 balls at a strike rate of 150, before being sent back by Chetan Sakariya in the first ball of the 17th over. The 30-year-old now has an average of 31.41 and strike rate of 142.80 this season, and has helped make up for injured Andre Russell’s absence.
Eoin Morgan’s double-digit score
The Kolkata captain has been a big let down in the team’s batting department in the 2021 edition. In the UAE leg, Morgan’s highest score is the unbeaten 13 against Rajasthan, and this is also his first double-digit score since the resumption of the tournament. The 13 runs came off 11 balls in which Morgan found one four and one six. Kolkata would be hoping that their skipper finds some momentum from this unbeaten knock ahead of the playoffs.
Rajasthan bundled out for 85 runs
Chasing 172, Rajasthan had one of the most disastrous starts in the tournament history, losing four wickets in three overs before being bundled out for 85 runs in 16.1 overs. As many as three batsmen went for a duck, while five others scored in single digits. The only contribution came from Rahul Tewatia, who scored 44 off 36 laced with five fours and two sixes.
Here’s a quick timeline of Rajasthan’s embarrassing collapse:
0.3 overs – Shakib Al Hasan sends back Yashasvi Jaiswal for a duck
1.1 overs – Shivam Mavi sends back Sanju Samson for one run
3.2 overs – Lockie Ferguson sends back Liam Livingstone for six runs
3.4 overs – Lockie Ferguson sends back Anuj Rawat for a duck
7.3 overs – Shivam Mavi sends back Glenn Phillips for eight runs
7.6 overs – Shivam Mavi sends back Shivam Dube for 18 runs
8.6 overs – Varun Chakravarthy sends back Chris Morris for a duck
11.2 overs – Shakib Al Hasan sends back Jaydev Unadkat for six runs
15.3 overs – Chetan Sakariya is run out by Dinesh Karthik
16.1 overs – Shivam Mavi sends back Rahul Tewatia for 44 runs
Shivam Mavi registers his career-best figures
Playing his third game of the UAE leg, the young pacer picked up four wickets for 21 runs in 3.1 overs, for which he was named Player of the Match. For the 22-year-old, this is now also his personal best bowling performance in the tournament. All of Mavi’s four wickets were big – Samson, Phillips, Dube and Tewatia. Lockie Ferguson was the other bowler who stood out with the ball, picking three wickets for 18 runs in four overs.
Kolkata’s remarkable turnaround in the UAE leg
Going by how the first leg panned out for Kolkata, a place in the top four looked like a herculean task. After winning only two games in India, the two-time champions made a remarkable turnaround in UAE, winning five games. Some of those wins have come without their star all-rounder Andre Russell, who still remains out with an injury.
Before the game against Rajasthan, Kolkata had a NRR of 0.294. But with the 86-run win, their NRR now stands at 0.480. What this means is that Mumbai, who have a NRR of – 0.048, will have to defeat Hyderabad by a margin of more than 160 runs to edge past Kolkata for the fourth spot and make it to the playoffs. That is near to impossible, unless we are in for a record-breaking surprise. In all probability, Kolkata have sealed the fourth spot.
Rajasthan’s season to forget but Sanju Samson’s to remember
It was a season to forget for Rajasthan, who failed to end their trophy drought once again. Led by Sanju Samson, Rajasthan won only five games this season, three of which came in the first leg. Their performance was particularly poor in the UAE, where they managed only two wins, against Punjab and Chennai respectively. The win against Chennai, though, was one that stood out. Helped by Ruturaj Gaikwad’s century, Chennai put up 189 on the board at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Not many would have expected an out-of-form Rajasthan to gun down a target of 190, but they chased the target in 17.3 overs. Evin Lewis scored a 12-ball 27, Yashasvi Jaiswal a 21-ball 50 and Shivam Dube a 42-ball 62 to make the chase look easy. The big win, however, was not enough to keep the side afloat in the race for the playoffs.
For Samson the batsman, however, this was his most prolific Indian T20 League season. The 27-year-old ends the season with 484 runs from 14 games at a strike-rate of 136.72, which includes a century and two fifties.
It is important to note that Rajasthan were without some of their top players in the UAE leg. Ben Stokes has taken a break to look after his mental health, Jos Buttler is with family for the birth of his second child and Jofra Archer is injured. In the absence of three top players, Rajasthan ending the season on the wrong side of the table was largely expected.
The highest score in Sharjah; the lowest score of this season
On a slow Sharjah surface, the Kolkata batsman posted 171 – the highest total at the venue this season. But the game also saw the lowest score of this season after Kolkata bowled out Rajasthan for 85.
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