Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav starred with an impressive four-wicket spell as he set up Kolkata Knight Riders to a comfortable six-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
Kuldeep (4/20) flummoxed Rajasthan Royals batsmen with his wrist spin as the visitors were bowled out for 142. KKR chased down the small target with two overs to spare with Chris Lynn top-scoring with a 42-ball 45 while skipper Dinesh Karthik remained unbeaten on 41. Karthik took his side home with a six as KKR reached 145/4 in 18 overs.
Sunil Narine played an explosive innings of 21 off just seven balls at the top of the innings to lay the foundation of the successful run chase. Except for Narine, all the KKR batsmen chose to bat in business-like fashion, shunning extravagance and looking for loose deliveries for boundaries.
With the win, KKR kept themselves in the hunt for a play-offs spot with 14 points from 13 matches as they remained at the third spot.
Rajasthan Royals, meanwhile, are stuck on 12 points from 13 matches and will now find it difficult to make it to the play-offs though they are theoretically still in contention.
Ben Stokes claimed two wickets – that of Narine and Robin Uthappa (4) – in successive overs en route to his superb 3/15 as KKR looked in a spot of bother on 69/3, requiring 74 from 70 balls. But Lynn remained steady and cut down his strokes to anchor the innings. He and Karthik batted sensibly to put together 48 runs before the Australian became Stokes’ third victim but by then, the equation had come down to a simple 26 from 28 balls.
In the end, Andre Russell and Karthik saw Kolkata home. They will now face Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday in their final league game.