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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rajasthan Royals Reaches Semi Final with a Six-Wicket Victory over Kolkata Knight Riders

Rajasthan Royals has secured a place in the semi final as the first team of Indian Premier League (IPL) following a six wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens last night. Rajasthan Royals was the one of the least spending franchises in player auction, but with time progresses Rajasthan Royals is becoming stronger. Shane Warne is leading the side pretty successfully with creativity and positive thinking. On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders are now on the verge of getting out of the race to semi final.

Winning the toss, Warne invited Kolkata to bat first, a decision proven right by his pacers as they took two wickets within seven overs. After a superb 73 in the previous match, Salman Butt started off well hitting some boundaries. However, his opening partner Mohammad Hafeez continued his off form in the match. I think, opening pair has become a problem for Kolkata Knight Riders for the last few matches. Losing an early wicket means creating huge pressure over the next batsmen. Captain Sourav Ganguly scored the highest 32 runs for Kolkata before falling off a loose delivery. David Hussey got played on at 11. Actually, Kolkata lost wickets at regular interval. Kolkata innings reached 147 thanks to a fiery 31 off 20 balls from Debabrata Das.

Chasing 147 seemed to be easy for Rajasthan Royals considering their recent form of batting. However, the start was not that much solid for Rajasthan as they lost their second wicket at 42, when Sohail Tanvir went back to the pavilion proving his side’s experiment in the batting order wrong. Shortly after the departure of Sohail Tanvir, Rajasthan Royals lost two more wickets, which led the home fans hopeful once again, but for no longer. Following the entrance of Yusuf Pathan, it did not take much time for Rajasthan to snatch away the match from Kolkata’s grip. Yusuf played a devastating innings of 48 runs off 18 balls, hitting five boundaries and three over boundaries. Kolkata bowlers seemed helpless to Yusuf. Mohammad Kaif supported him well with his 31-ball 34. So, Rajasthan Royals wrapped the match up in the 17th over with six wickets remaining.

With such blazing batting performance and a wicket for 14, Yusuf Pathan was the automatic choice for the man of the match award. Now, with this defeat Kolkata’s bid to reach the semi final is fading away. Kolkata has to win two remaining matches in the tournament and even two victories can not ensure a place for Kolkata in the semi final, because it depends on the performance of other competing teams, especially Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils.

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