Sharjah: Kolkata Knight Riders produced a clinical performance to beat Rajasthan Royals by a massive 86-run margin and take a huge step towards securing their play-off berth in the Indian Premier League here on Thursday.
With three play-off spots -- Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Royals Challengers Bangalore -- already sealed, KKR consolidated their position for the fourth and final play-off spot, finishing their round-robin engagements with 14 points from 14 games with an impressive net run rate of 0.587.
With 12 points from 13 matches, defending champions Mumbai Indians is the only team still in the play-off race but they will need to register a big win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last game on Friday to dislodge KKR from the fourth spot. Effectively, Mumbai need a miracle to make the play-offs ahead of KKR.
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.
Earlier, riding on Gill and Iyer's impressive start, KKR reached 50 in the eighth over.
KKR 171-4 in 20 overs (Shubman Gill 56; Chris Morris 1-28, Chetan Sakariya 1-23) bt Rajasthan Royals 85 all out in 16.1 overs (Rahul Tewatia 44; Lockie Ferguson 3/18, Shivam Mavi 4/21) by 86 runs
Mumbai Indians vs SunRisers Hyderabad
@ 15.30 Star Sports 1/ Select
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Capitals
@ 19.30 Star Sports 1/ Select
TEAM M W L PT
DC 13 10 3 20
CSK 14 9 5 18
RCB 13 8 5 16
KKR 14 7 7 14
PBKS 14 6 8 12
MI 13 6 7 12
RR 14 5 9 10
SRH 13 3 10 6
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