The Rajasthan Royals’ hopes of revenge over the Kolkata Knight Riders were promptly undone by an abject batting display in Sunday’s Indian Premier League match at Eden Gardens.
Beaten by the Kolkata franchise in Jaipur earlier in the week, Shane Warne and company were intent on repaying the favour at the Knight Riders’ home ground.
However, Eden Gardens only brought the former champions more shame, with their paltry 81 all out in 15.2 overs utterly shameful on a pitch that should’ve produced a tally in the region of 160-plus.
Ashok Menaria’s 21 in the middle order was as good as it got for Rajasthan, who had earlier lost danger man Shane Watson to Lakshmipathy Balaji and the rest of their top order to a slew of needless run-outs.
Any thoughts Warne had of his team’s tail wagging were thoroughly misplaced, as three ducks lined the useless efforts of numbers nine, 10 and 11.
Balaji was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 15, while spinner Shakib Al Hasan pitched in with a key brace.
Kolkata’ reply was a modest affair, but momentarily endured the skids as Shaun Tait removed the in-form Jacques Kallis for a second-ball quacker before Mavinder Bisla’s attempt to force the pace off Shane Warne only had one winner.
Captain Gautam Gambhir (35 not out) and sidekick Manoj Tiwary (30 not out), though, restored the status quo as the hosts resumed their domination of the game after a brief wobble to triumph on 85 for two in 13.5 overs.
The duo added 54 runs for the third wicket at a comfortable rate, aided entirely by five wides and two no-balls, the bulk of which were spewed from the right hand of the typically wayward Tait.
Sunday’s result saw Kolkata rise to the helm of the 10-team standings, while Rajasthan slumped to mid-table mediocrity at fifth. Cricket365