Gautam Gambhir won the toss and took to the field, presumably to go after the target with due planning. RR’s final score of 171 did not bother Gambhir as he mounted a big century opening stand with the in-form Robin Uthappa. RR did not appear to have much chance, when KKR needed just 50 runs from the last 6 overs. With all 10 wickets intact, it was like a walk-in-the-park. But all of a sudden, everything went haywire. First, Watson took three wickets in his 3rd over and then Pravin Tambe extracted a hat-trick from the first three balls of the next. In adding just 2 runs to the opening stand, KKR lost 6 wickets and then lost a match, which was almost in their bag. Later in the evening, at Delhi’s Firozshah Kotla stadium, DD scored 178/5 after being sent to bat by CSK captain, who won the toss. But the tremendous batting firepower of CSK was undaunted in overhauling DD’s competitive challenge in the last over.
In the first match, Rajasthan openers put on 52. The second wicket partnership of 53 was even better as every top order RR batsmen performed well with Karun Nair yielding another great performance. His 44 was made off 35 balls with 4 fours and a six. Before Rahane got run out, he had already scored a 22-ball 30. Towards the end, Sanju Samson and Shane Watson chipped in with brisk and impressive thirties and RR finished with a very competitive 170/6. Kolkata openers Uthappa and Gambhir began with a bang. Uthappa proved his usefulness as a productive opener rather than a pinch hitter in death overs. He displayed nice footwork in hitting 3 sixes and 5 fours. Gambhir too, played some delectable strokes in his 34-ball 54 with 6 hits to the fence and a huge six. The two of them mastered the RR bowlers and never looked like separating, until they reached 121 at the end of the 14th over. Now KKR needed 50 for victory from 36 balls, and it was only a matter of time for them. Watson decided to bowl the 15th over himself after conceding 15 off his first 2. Facing him was the well-set Gambhir. The KKR captain shaped for a drive through extra-cover but only managed to get an inside edge to be caught behind. In another tactical error, KKR think-tank sent Andre Russel next. Russel played awkwardly to a yorker and a fielding lapse from RR denied them an extremely close run out opportunity. Now Uthappa faced Watson’s third ball, bowled at a reduced pace. He misread it as he flicked it into the safe hands of Rajat Bhatia. Loss of both openers shook KKR but they were still in the game as Russel faced Watson’s 4th ball, which seemed to touch his gloves. Watson appealed in vain to the statuesque umpire but the fifth ball uprooted Russel’s middle stump and RR fielders were ecstatic. The last ball of this Watson over was driven to extra cover by Shakib Al Hasan but no runs accrued. With 3 wickets gone, Watson called Pravin Tambe for the 16th over of the innings,. The first ball to Manish Pandey was bowled on the leg side as Tambe saw the batsman walking out to whack him. Sanju Samson saw the ploy and whipped off the bails with Pandey miles away. This was KKR’s 4th wicket in the last 6 deliveries but the worst was not yet over. Tambe’s second ball to Yusuf Pathan was hit straight into Tambe’s hands. With new man Doeschate facing Tambe’s hat-trick ball, the miracle occurred. The straight delivery struck Doeschate full on the toe and though it left the batsman surprised, Tambe’s appeal for LBW was upheld by the umpire. Tambe got the hat-trick as his RR team-mates vied for the chance of hugging him. For KKR, it was like being struck by lightning of another kind as they created an unfortunate history of losing 6 wickets in the last 9 balls and added just 2 runs to the fantastic opening stand of 121. The debacle made things tricky for Suryakumar Yadav and Shakib Al Hasan, the two capable KKR batsmen. They now had to carry out the job of scoring at the rate of 11-plus runs in the last 4 overs. To their credit, they did their best, scored some boundaries and got a couple of free hits as well. But the fight had gone out of KKR’s arsenal by then. Shakib Al Hasan raised KKR;s hope by scoring 15 from the 18th over bowled by Tim Southee and 7 from 19th by Faulkner. Watson bowled an intelligent last over and won the game for RR by 10 runs.
At the Kotla, CSK decided to chase after winning the toss. DD batsmen did reasonably well with both Vijay and Kock scoring briskly. Kock was first to go in a horrible mix-up as the openers attempted a non-existent third run. Mohit Sharma then bowled KP for a duck on arrival. Though run rate dropped at the end of 8 overs, Karthik and Vijay carried on to add 71 runs for the third wicket, before Karthik got out to a 36-ball 51. In a sudden batting collapse Laxmi Shukla and Vijay also departed leaving DD at 120/5 in the 15th over. But JP Duminy and young Kedar Jadhav added 58 in the last 5 overs to take DD to a challenging 178/5 after 20th over. CSK replied solidly with McCullum and Dwayne Smith producing an 82-run opening stand. After McCullum got out, Raina and Smith continued merrily and took the score to 168 in 18.4 overs before Smith got out. With 8 balls remaining, CSK needed just 11 runs. Dhoni did the job for CSK with 12 off the first 4 balls of Unadkat’s last over and registering a deserved 8-wicket victory.
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