Despite Smith’s comeback 50, Rajasthan Royals lost the 21st IPL match against Kolkata Knight Riders in Jaipur.
The pitch was slower than usual and it was visible from Rajasthan Royals batting. There was a reason why Kolkata Knight Riders opted to bowl first after winning the toss. The bowlers from Kolkata were too good for RR from the beginning. The Royals lost Ajinkya Rahane’s wicket very early and then Jos Buttler and Steve Smith decided to take the charge. Buttler stayed till the 12th over but thanks to the brilliant KKR bowling that he could score only 37 off 34 balls. Piyush Chawla especially was too good for him and he was looking clueless in front of Chawla. Smith, on the other hand, got the first fifty of IPL 2019. He remained unbeaten on 73 of 59. But Smith’s innings lacked big strokes. Despite two good knocks by the top order batsmen, Rajasthan struggled to earn each run and ended with 139/3.
The top three Kolkata batsmen clicked on the same pitch that made Rajasthan almost crawl. KKR’s approach to scoring runs was totally different from the beginning of their innings. Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine, both KKR openers scored 50 off 32 and 47 of 25 respectively. Lynn completed 1000 IPL runs. They built the base for Uthappa to join and finish the chase comfortably. Robin Uthappa remained unbeaten on 26 off 16 balls and went for the winning stroke with seven overs remaining. Only Jofra Archer (3-0-14-0) and Shreyas Gopal (4-0-35-2) did something worthwhile from the Rajasthan bowling side.
Kolkata Knight Riders bowler Harry Gurney had a dream debut. He scalped two major wickets of Buttler and Rahul Tripathy to finish with 4-0-25-2.