To keep their playoffs dream afloat, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) thumped Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 60 runs at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. In a do-or-die encounter, it was the Eoin Morgan-led side who came on top and stayed in the race to clinch a top-four finish.
After being put to bat first, KKR's run-flow was bolstered by Shubman Gill's 24-ball 36 and Rahul Tripathi's 39 off 34 deliveries. Skipper Eoin Morgan rose to the occasion when his team needed him the most. Slamming 68* off just 35 deliveries, Morgan steered KKR to a daunting 191-run total.
In response, Royals suffered a batting debacle as they lost their first five wickets in the powerplay. Justifying his hefty price tag, Pat Cummins' spell dismantled RR's batting unit. He finished with figures of 4/34 in his four overs to wrap up RR on a scanty 131-run total.
Shivam Mavi and Varun Chakravarthy also scalped two wickets to eliminate the Royals from the playoffs race. KKR, sitting on the fourth position after their win, will have to wait for the SRH-MI encounter to know their fate.
Reacting to his side's impressive show, Morgan heaped praise on Cummins' lethal show and 'collective bowling display' of KKR.
"It was certainly an improvement from the last game. The last game we played was in worse conditions but there was no advantage in bowling first today. The dew came early and we seem to post a par score. The most impressive thing today was our collective bowling. We were outstanding today. From Cummins' first over to Nagarkoti's final over, we really did commit and executive what we spoke before the game. Regardless of qualification now, we've given everything we have," said Morgan on the mood in the KKR camp after their comprehensive victory.
"Pat has been outstanding for us throughout the season. Both with the bat and the ball. Huge attributes that he brings to our side. Today's performance epitomized how well he's bowling. As he does for Australia, Cummins sets the tone for us with the new ball," Morgan further said.
Morgan further heaped praise on Dinesh Karthik's impressive show behind the stumps. After failing to deliver with the bat, the former KKR skipper shined with his wicketkeeping gloves and also plucked a brilliant mid-air catch of Ben Stokes.
"DK had a remarkable day behind the stumps. It is one of the toughest jobs in the game which is often unrewarded and overlooked. Today, Karthik made a huge contribution with the gloves and his catch to dismiss Stokes was amazing," he said.