KOLKATA: No team has won chasing a total at the Dubai International Stadium in this IPL. Even a high-flying Rajasthan Royals could not change that as they suffered a 37-run defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders at the same venue on Wednesday. Put into bat by RR skipper Steve Smith, after winning the toss, KKR, who put up 174 for six, restricted their rivals to 137 for 9.
KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan, watching from the stands, must be proud of his team’s youngsters who made the difference between the two sides.
The RR batsmen should have learnt a thing or two from the way Shubman Gill batted. The Punjab boy did not play a false shot even in this slam-bang version of the game. But at the same time he ensured that the scoreboard was kept ticking.
In contrast the RR batsmen seemed to be still under their euphoric wins at Sharjah and perished trying to play shots too early on a track that played slow and the boundaries longer.

Pat Cummins drew the first blood claiming Smith caught behind in his first over. But it was a day for youngsters Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti to repay the faith that the franchise had shown in them. Both the former India Under-19 World Cup winning pacers were out for long with injuries. But the KKR team management decided to carry them in spite of releasing a number of old faces.
Mavi claimed the prized wicket of in-form Sanju Samson whose mistimed shot was caught by Narine at mid-wicket. The pacer, in his next over, removed Jos Buttler caught at short third man by Varun Chakravarthy.
He then took an easy catch to dismiss former Knight Robin Uthappa at backward square leg that brought about Nagarkoti’s maiden IPL wicket. The boy from Rajasthan had Riyan Parag in the same over too. Nagarkoti also brought about a spectacular diving catch to end Jofra Archer’s brisk innings.
Another youngster Chakravarthy joined the party cleaning up RR’s last match hero Rahul Tewatia.
Earlier the KKR middle-order failed to capitalise on a good start given by Gill before Archer had him caught and bowled for a well-made 47 off 34 balls (5×4, 1×6).
The West Indian Andre Russell could not live up to expectation. Walking out to bat at No. 4 ahead of skipper Dinesh Karthik and vice-captain Eoin Morgan, he opened up with two sixes off leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal. But RR must have got the message from their mentor Shane Warne, who came out of quarantine on Wednesday. Watching the boys play from the gallery, the spin great was seen signaling the bowlers to challenge Russell on the wider off-side boundary. Pacer Ankit Rajpoot got the result doing that as the all-rounder was caught at the deep point boundary by Jaydev Unadkat for a brisk 24 off 14 balls.
RR, however, should be thankful to Archer who not only picked up two key wickets, but also gave the side some chance by keeping things tight conceding just 18 runs off his four overs.

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