Rajasthan Royals Pull Off IPL’s Biggest Run Chase To Beat KKR By 2 Wickets



    Jos Buttler swung his bat merrily on way to a 60-ball 107 and single-handedly lifted Rajasthan Royals to a sensational two-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders, pulling off the IPL’s biggest run chase on Tuesday. Asked to bat first, Sunil Narine’s 109 off 56 balls powered hosts KKR to a formidable 223/6 in front of a packed Eden Gardens. But Buttler had other ideas as he dragged the Royals, dead an buried at 121/6 in the 13th over, past the target of 224 in the last ball of the game after the visitors needed 46 runs in the last three overs, and 28 in 12 balls. Batting first on a fresh pitch, Narine blazed away to a 49-ball 100 to lead KKR’s charge in this top-of-the-table clash.

    Trent Bolt eventually got the better of Narine, but not before the opener had bludgeoned 13 fours and six sixes, displaying supreme confidence and skill against one of the best attacks of the IPL.

    It was a one-man show from KKR as Narine batted till the 18th over, first stitching 85 runs with Angkrish Raghuvanshi (30) and then adding 51 runs with Andre Russell (13).

    However, Buttler had the last laugh as Narine’s maiden T20 hundred went in vain.

    The England white-ball captain, who missed the previous match due to a niggle, anchored the chase with utmost precision, hitting nine fours and six sixes overall.

    Wickets kept falling at the other end and RR were reduced to 186/8 in the 18th over over, but Buttler showed little nerves.

    Needing 28 from the last two overs, Buttler had to be calculative and he did just that by smashing Harshit Rana for 19 runs while facing all his deliveries.

    The destructive Englishman raced to his century by hitting Varun Chakravarthy for a six in the first ball of the final over.

    He refused to take any single to guard the tailenders but got the job done in the last ball.

    This was the joint highest run chase in the history of IPL. Previously, the Royals had overhauled a 224-run target against Punjab Kings at Sharjah in 2020.

    The win consolidated Royals’ position at the top of the standings with 12 points at the halfway stage of the league, four clear of KKR.

    The IPL’s most expensive buy Mitchell Starc proved to be rusty again with the ball, giving away 0/50 and in his 18th over, he conceded 18 runs.

    Earlier, not only did Narine pierce the field with ease, he also unleashed a relentless attack on R Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.

    Having reached fifty in 29 balls, the Trinidadian took just 20 deliveries to get to his first century, pulling Chahal to the midwicket boundary.

    Clad in a crisp white T-shirt, team owner Shah Rukh Khan sent a flying kiss from the stands.

    On the field, his West Indies teammate Russell jumped in joy, giving him a bear hug as Narine waved his bat in a muted celebration.

    Finally, it took a Boult special to end Narine’s innings as the Kiwi left-arm pacer nailed a perfect yorker that also broke the leg stump, causing some delay in the middle.

    With Narine taking the centre stage, the Royals spinners had a poor day. Ashwin gave away four wides and conceded 49 runs from his four overs, while Chahal returned with figures of 1/54 from his full quota.

    Later, Rinku Singh’s nine-ball 20 not out with two sixes and one four took the total past 200-mark, as KKR scored 62 runs in the last five overs.

    Avesh Khan (2/35) and Boult (1/31) were the pick of the Royals bowlers. Kuldeep Sen (2/46) also picked two.

    Riyan Parag dropped a sitter from in-form English opener Phil Salt in the second ball of the match.

    The drop did not cost the Royals much as Salt, who scored a match-winning unbeaten 89 against Lucknow Super Giants, got out for 10 thanks to Avesh Khan’s one-handed return catch.

    But sloppy fielding at the onset looked to have its impact as Narine and the young Raghuvanshi seized the momentum in the power play.

    Raghuvanshi’s exquisite timing was on full display when he slammed Boult for three boundaries in the fifth over.

    Narine took charge against Sen with a monstrous six over deep midwicket and followed that up with a boundary in a 16-run over, as KKR made 56 for 1 in the power play.

    Narine soon shifted to top gear, smashing Chahal over long-off and in the next over produced an even bigger hit in the same region to race to his half-century in 29 balls.

    The duo took KKR to 100/1 at the halfway mark before Raghuvanshi threw his wicket away, mistiming an upper cut. But Narine continued the onslaught to prop up KKR.

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