RR beat KKR by 3 wickets, keep play-off hopes alive


Rajasthan Royals’ Riyan Parag celebrates with Jofra Archer after his side beat Kolkata Knight Riders by three wickets in Kolkata on Thursday.(Photo: BCCI/IPL)

KOLKATA, April 26: Teenager Riyan Parag led a dramatic late fightback along with Jofra Archer as Rajasthan Royals recovered from a batting slump to snatch a thrilling three-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a dramatic IPL match on Thursday.
The 17-year-old Parag from Assam played without any fear in only his 14th T20 match to score a 31-ball 47 in a determined rearguard innings as the Royals chased down the target of 176 with four balls to spare.
Parag, who hit five fours and two sixes, added 44 crucial runs with Archer — who remained not out on 27 off just 12 balls with the help of two fours and two sixes — for the seventh wicket from 3.3 overs to turn the match on its head after the Royals were reduced to 98 for 5 in the 13th over.
The Royals needed 54 runs from the final five overs with just four lower order batsmen to come and the match was definitely for KKR’s taking at that stage but the script changed altogether as the home side slumped to their sixth loss on the trot.
Archer, who was playing his last IPL match of the season as he is leaving for England, hit a six to win the match as the Royals reached 177 for 7 in 19.2 overs.
With the win, the Royals moved up one place to seventh with eight points from 11 matches, the same as KKR, who remained at sixth spot, from the same number of matches.
Three teams — KKR, the Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore — now occupy the last three spots in the table with eight points each from 11 matches and all of them still have a theoretical chance of making it to the play-offs, provided they do not lose any of their remaining three matches.
The Royals made a flying start with openers Sanju Samson (22) and Ajinkya Rahane (34) scoring 53 off the first five overs but a sudden batting collapse saw them being reduced to 63 for 3 in the eighth over, losing three wickets in two overs for just 10 runs.
Spinners Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla threatened to change the complexion of the game with a burst of two wicket apiece. (PTI)