Clinical Kolkata Knight Riders give Rajasthan a royal pasting

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Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals players after the match. (AFP Photo)

JAIPUR, April 8: It took Steve Smith five Indian Premier League games to strike form. The Australian batting ace played an unbeaten knock of 73 to guide Rajasthan Royals to 139/3 against Kolkata Knight Riders. However, it never seemed that would be enough.
In the end, it wasn’t as Kolkata Knight Riders cantered to an eight-wicket win, chasing down the target in just 13.5 overs. For the Kolkata outfit, the opening pair of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine came up with a 91-run stand, literally running away with the match. Lynn rode his luck for a half-century – a Dhawal Kulkarni delivery hit his stumps but failed to dislodge the bails.
Put in to bat, Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane let another opportunity go by as he was dismissed for just five by medium pacer Prasidh Krishna in the second over.
Rahane had to depart after being struck on the front pad and the umpire had no hesitation in adjudging him out.
The early setback, however, didn’t have much impact on the hosts, thanks to Smith. Jos Buttler and Smith went after the opposition bowling attack, even though not quite at the pace they would have liked. Knights spinners were proving difficult to handle. Smith completed his fifty off 44 balls and the duo brought up the fifty partnership in 10 overs.
Buttler made his intention clear as he smacked back-to-back boundaries off Prasidh. He turned on the heat and gathered 11 runs in one over.
Leg-break bowler Piyush Chawla opened the bowling for the Knights and proved quite stingy by T20 standards, conceding just 19 runs in his four overs.
Buttler and Smith tried to accelerate the run rate, not always being successful. Smith and Buttler could manage to hit a six each, the only two maximums in the innings before Buttler fell to a slower one from Harry Gurney after scoring 37.
Smith was particularly severe to Kuldeep Yavav. He entertained the holiday crowd with some excellent batting, cutting him fine for a few boundaries. Ben Stokes, though, failed to accelerate towards the end. (TNN)