Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bagged their second win of the season when they defeated Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 37 runs, riding on the shoulders of young Indian trio — Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti.
Winning the toss, Steve Smith sent Kolkata to bat first and Shubman Gill gave the two-time champions a perfect start as he top-scored for them with 47 runs. Later on, two quickfire innings from Andre Russell and Eoin Morgan took KKR to 174/6 in 20 overs.
“We would have batted first, that was our plan. To put runs on the board was what we thought was the way forward on this ground. A lot of things pleased me - the way Gill started, the way Russell started, the way Morgan kept his head," Dinesh Karthik said at the post-match presentation.
Rajasthan had a shaky start as Pat Cummins picked up RR captain Steve Smith’s wicket early. Shivam Mavi then removed in-form Sanju Samson and then went on to pick up Jos Buttler’s wicket.
“When I started, the ball was seaming around. So I kept it tight. I’ve played against some of these big players before so I knew what they would do, so I made sure I just stuck to the lines and lengths," said the Man of the match Shivam Mavi.
Mavi’s under-19 Indian team bowling partner, Kamlesh Nagarkoti then added to the woes the Jaipur-based team as he picked the wickets of Robin Uthappa and Riyan Parag while conceding only 13 runs in his 2 overs.
Both the young Indian quicks who battled injuries in the last two seasons claimed two wickets apiece and repaid KKR’s faith in them. They were good in the field as well.
“It’s a very special thing - these boys, the journey they’ve gone through when not playing, and for them to just come out and express themselves with the ball and ball was incredible," the KKR captain said.
“The beautiful sight of the youngsters going for the catch no matter high it is," Karthik added.
Nagarkoti too thanked KKR for standing by him in difficult times. “Team KKR has really taken care of me well. I benefited a lot from Abhishek Nayar’s (at KKR Academy). He focused on nurturing me as an all-rounder."