|Karun Nair en route to his 44, in Ahmedabad, on Monday. (PTI)
Ahmedabad: Leg spinner Pravin Tambe and captain Shane Watson came up with stunning bowling performances, as Rajasthan Royals (RR) made a dramatic comeback to inflict a 10-run defeat on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), here, on Monday.
The 42-year-old Tambe, who hails from Mumbai, became the hero at the Sardar Patel Stadium, as he achieved the first hat-trick of the IPL VII, in the 16th over of the match.
Already reeling from an over from Watson in which they lost three wickets, KKR capitulated from a position where victory had looked well within their grasp. They lost six wickets for two runs, in a span of eight balls.
Chasing a RR total of 170 for six — who were put into bat by Gautam Gambhir — KKR, at the end of the 14th over, were 121 for no loss before Watson struck. KKR could manage only 160 for six, losing their fourth successive match in the tournament.
Hardly anyone expected KKR to lose on Monday, especially after the way the two openers, Robin Uthappa (65) and Gautam Gambhir (54), gave a solid start to their innings.
It was indeed painful for the openers to see their team slump to defeat. The two overs from Watson and Tambe completely changed the scenario.
Though Tambe got the hat-trick, it was Watson, who actually broke the backbone of the KKR batting in the 15h over, by sending back both Gambhir and Uthappa within a span of three balls. Two balls later, he got the wicket of West Indian Andrew Russell.
The Knights’ innings crumbled completely in the next over from Tambe. Tambe’s first ball was a wide but Manish Pandey rushed out only to get stumped. In the next ball, which was technically the first delivery of the over, he had Yusuf Pathan caught and bowled. Then Ryan ten Doeschate was trapped leg before in the next delivery, leaving Tambe ecstatic. The spinner had actually taken three wickets in two legitimate deliveries.
There were some positives for KKR also. Though the RR top order came good, their ambition of touching the 200 mark was effectively curtailed by the two KKR spinners Sunil Narine and Shakib-al Hasan. Pacer Vinay Kumar too bowled a fruitful final over that fetched two wickets and kept the RR scores in check.
And then there were two extraordinary catches taken by Surya Kumar Yadav and Ryan ten Doeschate in the 19th and the 20th over.
In the 18th over, Andre Russell seemed to stop during his run up, but then went on to deliver the ball. Watson, who was expecting a ‘dead ball’ call was startled by the delivery that pitched outside the off-stump. He walked down to have a chat with umpire Nigel Llong, but the delivery was ruled legal.
In the beginning, RR went on the rampage. First, Ajinkya Rahane (30) and Karun Nair (44) put up 52 runs for the first wicket in 39 deliveries. Sanju Samson (37) too had a good outing.
Given the start and the way Watson struck 31 off 20 balls with two sixes and two fours, one expected the home side to go far beyond the 170 runs they finally accumulated.