Sunday 22 September, 2019

West Indies trio fail as Kolkata Knight Riders lose again

All-rounder Jofra Archer.

All-rounder Jofra Archer.

Kolkata Knight Riders, with West Indies players Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Carlos Brathwaite, suffered a three-wicket defeat against Rajasthan Royals in the 43rd match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Thursday.

Teenager Riyan Parag and the departing Jofra Archer lifted Rajasthan Royals to the victory as  Kolkata Knight Riders' misery continued.

The Knight Riders have not won since their last meeting with the Royals - a run now stretching to six matches - but captain Dinesh Karthik looked to have them on their way to victory on Thursday.

He made an unbeaten 97 to help set a target of 176. The three West Indies players were all dismissed cheaply.

Narine was run out for 11, Russell made a run a ball 14 and Brathwaite, five.

The majority of  Kolkata's runs came in the final few overs after a slow start saw Varun Aaron (2-20) impress with the ball.

But the Knight Riders did not account for a crucial late partnership of 44 between Parag and Archer, who was playing his final match before leaving to link up with England for the first time.

Parag, just 17, hit 47, before Archer (27 not out off 12) took Kolkata to 177-7 with four balls to spare in a stunning finish.

AARON EVERYWHERE FOR ROYALS

The Royals bowled superbly early on to initially keep the scoring down, with Aaron setting the tone as he took two wickets for just 10 runs through his three overs in the powerplay.

In the field, Aaron caught at point from Nitish Rana (21) to check the Knight Riders' momentum again.

Some sloppy fielding and well-placed drives followed as Narine threatened to partner the big-hitting Karthik, but Aaron soon intervened again, launching in a throw to see the West Indies man - deemed not fit enough for their Cricket World Cup squad - run out chasing a second.

KOLKATA'S KARTHIK KEEPS GOING

Aaron could do nothing to slow Karthik, though, and the Kolkata batsman inspired his side almost singlehandedly to a very solid total.

The Knight Riders were 100-4 through 15 overs but incredibly ended on 175-6, with Karthik contributing 55 of those 75 runs in a remarkable finish. Four of his incredible nine maximums came in the final two overs.

It was a much-needed contribution as Ajinkya Rahane (34), who agreed to join County Championship side Hampshire on Thursday, and Sanju Samson (22) combined for an early partnership of 53 from 32 deliveries in reply.

LATE PAIRING DOES THE JOB

The Royals had dropped Ashton Tucker off the back of three straight ducks, but they still struggled to fire after Rahane and Samson departed, with Narine snaring skipper Steve Smith for just two for his second wicket of the innings.

Piyush Chawla (3-20) also contributed handily for Kolkata with a trio of wickets and Rajasthan were left looking for someone to replicate Karthik's earlier efforts.

They had two men step up to the plate, though, in Parag and Archer.

The 17-year-old looked as though he would do it on his own when he rifled a big six in the penultimate over, only to then knock off his own stumps from the next ball, meaning it was left to Archer to bow out in style.

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