On April 18, 2022- the date which marked 14 years since the first ball of the Indian Premier League was bowled, cricket fans were treated to the most thrilling encounter of this season. The 30th match between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders was studded with Jos Buttler's century, Yuzvendra Chahal's hattrick, and Shreyas Iyer's incredible innings during run chase. In short, it had every ingredient which has made the India T20 domestic tournament a successful league over the years.
Rajasthan Royals defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 7-runs in a jaw-dropping encounter, with the help of Jos Buttler's 103 in 61 balls, followed by Yuzvendra Chahal's fifer in the second innings. For Kolkata Knight Riders, Aaron Finch (58 off 28), Shreyas Iyer (85 off 51), and a brief cameo from Umesh Yadav (21 off 9) were a few notable contributions.
The royals had the perfect start as Buttler, and Devdutt Padikkal (24 off 18) added blistering 97-runs onboard before the latter got dismissed off mystery spinner Sunil Narine in the 10th over of the game. Sanju Samson (38 off 19) and Shimran Hetmyer (26 off 13) joined Englishman to post a huge total of 217 onboard. In response, KKR had an unlikely start as Sunil Narine (0 off 0), who was promoted at the top of the order, became a victim of an unfortunate run-out on the very first delivery.
But, Aaron Finch and skipper Shreyas Iyer built a crucial partnership for the second wicket as both added 107-runs on board, making the run chase look so easy. After Finch got dismissed in the 9th over of the second innings, Shreyas Iyer held the fort and played fine innings of 85-runs to close the gap, but he was hunted down by Yuzvendra Chahal in the 17th over.
The leggy bowled the spell for the ages in the 17th over, as he dismissed four of Royals' batters and also achieved his first hattrick of the season. Towards the end, Umesh Yadav played some cracking shots and brought the game to last over thriller but could not win the game for his team. Let's take a look at the points table after the 30th match of the season.
Rajasthan Royals have climbed the ladder and secured the second spot in the points table after winning their fourth game in the tournament. Royals have played six games so far and have lost just two. They currently have eight points and a net run rate of +0.380. Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders has slipped to the sixth position in the points table after losing their fourth game in the league. They have six points after seven games and have a net run rate of +0.160.
What did the captains say post-match?
The winning captain Sanju Samons confessed that the quality of the cricket was at its best during the contest because top-notch players from the world were fighting out for a win. "Very happy with the win. I respect KKR as a unit. We never thought we were in the game," he said.
Although Sanju restricted himself from taking individual names, he accepted that his side had some of the best batters and bowlers who were pulling off stunning victories for the side.
He also mentioned R Ashwin for his "super delivery" to dismiss Andre Russel in the second innings. On the other hand, Shreyas Iyer congratulated Jos Buttler and Chahal for their incredible performances and said that both the players were world-class cricketers.
"We were always in the game. Right from the star, Finch's inning was superb, and I always thought that If they can get it, I can get it as well," Iyer said. However, Shreyas is optimistic that KKR will bounce back stronger as they have quality players in their camp who are ready to go to any extent to win the game.
Lucknow Super Giants will lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 19 at DY Patil Sports Academy in Mumbai. Both the teams are coming from comprehensive wins in their previous games and will hope to continue their winning ways. Lucknow Super Giants is currently placed in the third spot in the points table, whereas RCB has slipped to fourth. Both the teams have been in incredible form throughout the tournament, and the clash between both will surely be a thrilling encounter.