Kolkata, May 11 (IANS) Yuzvendra Chahal became the leading wicket-taker in history of the IPL through a mesmerising 4/25 while Yashasvi Jaiswal made mockery of a two-paced pitch by smashing an unbeaten 47-ball 98, including the quickest-ever fifty of the tournament in 13 balls, as Rajasthan Royals thrashed Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets in an season 2023 match at Eden Gardens, here on Thursday.
Chahal was undoubtedly Rajasthan’s standout bowler, spinning a web around Kolkata batters with his slow tossed up deliveries, leg-spin and googly to keep the hosts to 149/8. Jaiswal was then sparkling in his strokeplay, combining bravado and fearless approach to hit 13 fours and five sixes at a strike-rate of 208.51.
The left-handed opener reaching fifty in 13 balls was like a video game in fast-forward mode, leaving the fans in awe of the ability to clear the infield and pick gaps with immaculate ease and precise footwork while taking down Kolkata’s bowlers in jaw-dropping fashion.
Jaiswal also shared an unbroken 121-run stand off 69 balls for the second wicket with Sanju Samson, who finished at 48 not out off 29 balls, as Rajasthan got over the line with 41 balls to spare. The result also means Rajasthan jumped to third place on the points table with 12 points from as many games and net run rate at 0.633, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
The 21-year-old Jaiswal kick-started the chase in spectacular fashion, dancing down the pitch to loft Nitish Rana’s part-time off-spin over long-on for six, followed by slog-sweeping for another maximum. His opening over onslaught continued when he danced down the pitch to drive past mid-off and cut fiercely twice to hit three fours, picking 26 runs off the over.
Though Jos Buttler was run-out for a duck, Jaiswal got a four thanks to an overthrow, and then hooked Harshit Rana for six. He went on to smash Shardul Thakur for three consecutive fours through mid-off, deep mid-wicket and cover, before taking a single to reach his fifty in 13 balls.
Post that, there was no stopping Jaiswal as he hammered a drive off Varun Chakaravarthy for four, followed by cutting and heaving off Harshit for a brace of boundaries. There was no respite in store for Kolkata as Samson pulled and whipped off Chakaravarthy for six and four respectively.
Jaiswal brought out the shot of the innings by backing away to loft inside-out over the extra-cover boundary off Sunil Narine in the seventh over, followed by pulling Suyash Sharma for another maximum.
Nothing went Kolkata’s way as Samson was dropped by Narine off his own bowling, followed by the right-hander slapping Suyash for four and carting Anukul Roy for three sixes over the bowler’s head.
While Samson thumped Chakaravarthy for six, Jaiswal brought out sweep, reverse-sweep for two boundaries, before finishing off the chase with another sweep off Thakur for a four to be 98 not out.
Earlier, Jason Roy flicked off Trent Boult in the third over, but Shimron Hetmyer ran to his right from deep square leg and took a terrific jumping catch on the edge of the boundary. The left-arm pacer then had Rahmanullah Gurbaz mistimed a drive on the up and was caught by Sandeep Sharma running to his right and diving to take the catch at mid-off.
Post power-play, Rajasthan kept Kolkata on a tight leash by off-spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Joe Root. But Venkatesh Iyer, who was struggling for momentum, slog-swept and lofted inside-out over long-off against Ashwin for back-to-back sixes, before Nitish Rana ended the 18-run over with a drive past extra cover for four.
Chahal struck for Rajasthan in the next over, having Rana slog-sweeping straight to diving backward square leg and becoming the leading wicket-taker in history of IPL. But Venkatesh took the leg-spinner to cleaners in his next over, clearing long-off for six, before pulling and driving with ease for two fours.
After Andre Russell smacked KM Asif over long-off for six, the pacer bounced back by cramping the big-hitter for room and cutting straight to backward point. Venkatesh stormed to his fifty in 40 balls by thumping Asif over long-off for six.
But Chahal took him out in the 17th over as the left-hander skied a wide delivery to cover, followed by the leg-spinner trapping Shardul Thakur lbw on review. He returned in the 19th over to have Rinku Singh holing out to long-off, before Sandeep had Sunil Narine dismissed in a similar manner on the last ball.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 149/7 in 20 overs (Venkatesh Iyer 57; Yuzvendra Chahal 4/25, Trent Boult 2/15) lost to Rajasthan Royals 151/1 in 13.1 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 98 not out, Sanju Samson 48 not out) by nine wickets.