Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) produced a clinical performance to beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) by a massive 86-run margin and take a huge step towards securing their playoff berth in IPL 2021 in Sharjah on Thursday.
With three playoff spots -- Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Royals Challengers Bangalore -- already sealed, KKR consolidated their position for the fourth and final playoff spot, finishing their league games with 14 points from 14 games with an impressive net run rate of +0.587.
The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians (MI) can still qualify for the playoffs, however, it is next to impossible. With 12 points from 13 matches, the defending champions will need to register a big win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last game on Friday to dislodge KKR from the fourth spot. MI will have to win by around 171 runs after scoring 200 to get past KKR's net run rate. However, if they chase, they can't go beyond KKR's net run rate. Effectively, MI needs a miracle to make the playoffs.
Coming back to today's game, Shubman Gill hit a second consecutive fifty as KKR registered the highest score at the venue this season, posting a competitive 171 for four after being put into bat.
Gilll (56 off 44) and Venkatesh Iyer (38 off 35) got KKR's innings to a rollicking start, stitching 79 runs for the opening stand.
Rahul Tripathi (21), Dinesh Karthik (14 not out off 11) and skipper Eoin Morgan (13 not out off 11) also played good hands towards the end to take KKR to past the 170-run mark.
RR had a horrible star to their chase, losing their best batter of the season Yashasvi Jaiwal to Shakib Al Hasan in the third ball of the innings. If that was not enough, skipper Sanju Samson departed in the first delivery of the next over.
Back into the side after recovering from an injury, Lockie Ferguson struck twice in his first over -- first removing Liam Livingstone and then accounting for young Anuj Rawat a ball later.
Mavi then struck twice in the eighth over -- disturbing the timbers of Glenn Phillips and Shivam Dube with his brute pace as RR kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy was not to be left behind as he joined the party in the next over dismissing Chris Morris LBW.
Rahul Tewatia took the attack to the opposition and struck Mavi for three boundaries as RR reached 49 for seven in the 10th over.
With no pressure on his back, Tewatia continued his attacking display and clobbered Chakravarthy over deep square leg boundary for the first six of RR innings.
Tewatia played a 36-ball 44-run cameo but it was not enough as KKR bowled out RR for a meagre 85.
Mavi finished with his best IPL figures of 4/21, while Ferguson (3/18) also shone bright with the ball.
(With PTI inputs)
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