The spin trio of Piyush Chawla, Narine and Kuldeep Yadav weaved their magic at Sawai Mansingh Stadium to restrict Rajasthan to 139/3 in their 20 overs despite a half-century from Steve Smith. Narine and Lynn then dashed any hopes of a Rajasthan revival, plundering 91 runs for the opening wicket in just 8.3 overs to shut down the chase nice and early. The visitors ultimately took just 13.5 overs to romp home to an easy win.
Karthik's decision to field first was vindicated right away with Prasidh Krishna striking in the second over of the day. Ajinkya Rahane (5) shuffling across to turn one to the on-side got hit right in front of the stumps and the umpire had no hesitation in lifting his finger.
Steve Smith and Jos Buttler then got together and even though a wicket did not fall for the next 10.4 overs, Rajasthan at no stage were allowed to get away. Buttler creamed Prasidh for two fours in the fourth over post which Karthik employed a spin-only approach for a while and the move paid dividends. The hosts could only manage 28/1 in the Powerplay, their lowest of the season as the Kolkata spinners had Buttler and Smith in all sorts of a tangle.
Overs four to ten yielded just 33 runs for Rajasthan before the duo finally broke the shackles in Kuldeep's third over carting him for two fours. Buttler then smashed fellow countryman Harry Gurney for a massive six over cow corner but the debutant had the last laugh when the opener looking for a repeat of the previous hit was caught at the deep midwicket fence for 37.
While Kuldeep still went for a few runs, Chawla and Narine were absolutely miserly not giving the batsmen any space whatsoever. While Chawla finished with figures of 4-0-19-0 despite bowling three overs in the Powerplay, Narine conceded just 22 runs in his four overs.
Finally finding some pace on the ball in the 15th over, in the form of Prasidh, Smith brought the big levers out punching two fours, which also got him his first half-century of the season.
Rajasthan lost Rahul Tripathi soon after and the incoming Ben Stokes too found the going tough. He was hit twice on the body in the penultimate over by Prasidh and also missed out on a free-hit. The hosts did eke out 83 runs from the last ten overs with Smith doing the bulk of the scoring. The Australian finished on 73 off 59 balls, his innings laced with seven fours and a six. For Kolkata, Gurney was the most successful bowler returning 2/25 from his fours overs.
With three spinners in their armoury, Rajasthan were expected to not make things easy for Kolkata. Narine and Lynn though had other plans. Lynn started off the chase in blazing fashion slamming two fours in Dhawal Kulkarni's first over. Narine then got into the act taking a special liking to off-spinner K Gowtham. The left-hander smoked four fours and one six in the off-spinner's first over - second of the chase - as Rajasthan were pegged back early.
Kulkarni then should have had both Narine and Lynn off consecutive bowls but luck was just shining on Kolkata on the day. Narine was dropped first ball of the fourth over by Tripathi before a bizarre incident the very next ball left players as well as commentators dumbstruck. Kulkarni got one to dart in from a length breaching Lynn's defences. The ball crashed the outer part of the leg stump but to everyone's amazement, the bail popped up and fell back in its place. Lynn had started walking only to realise that the bails had, in fact, not dislodged.
The opener made full use of the chance thumping the next ball for a four and then depositing Jofra Archer to the stands over long-on. Kolkata amassed 65 runs in the Powerplay without losing a wicket with both Lynn and Narine bossing the chase.
The runs did not stop even after the field restrictions were relaxed with leg-spinner S Midhun carted for two massive sixes by Narine. The 91-run stand between the duo was finally ended by Shreyas Gopal when he induced a thick outside edge off Narine's blade with Smith holding onto a tough chance at first slip. The opener though had by the time done his job having thrashed six fours and three sixes in his 25-ball 47.
Lynn brought up his half-century in the 11th over but fell soon after top-edging Gopal to deep fine leg for a 32-ball 50, his knock studded with six fours and three sixes as well. With just 26 runs more needed when Lynn fell in over nine overs, Robin Uthappa and Shubman Gill finished off the proceedings without too much delay.
Uthappa remained unbeaten on 26 in 16, which included one four and two sixes while Gill was 6* as Kolkata knocked over the target with 37 balls to spare. Gopal was the only successful Rajasthan bowler finishing with figures of 2/35 in his fours overs.
First Published: April 8, 2019, 12:58 AM IST