The leg-spinner’s first hat-trick of the season derails KKR after first-wicket century stand

In one of the most dramatic turnarounds, Rajasthan Royals on Monday came from nowhere to register an improbable 10-run victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in an encounter which saw fortunes fluctuating from one team to the other till the very end.

Chasing a victory target of 171, KKR was 121 for no loss with Gautam Gambhir (54) and Robin Uthappa (65) cruising along before losing an incredible six wickets for addition of two runs in a space of nine deliveries (eight legal ones).

Shane Watson (three for 21) and Pravin Tambe ( three for 26, including a hat-trick), scripted a remarkable collapse which the jam-packed Motera will remember for a long time to come.

The former champion never recovered from that telling blow as it was restricted to 160 for six in the stipulated 20 overs, losing its fifth game in the tournament. With a defeat like this, it will be very difficult for KKR to make a comeback. Rajasthan with 10 points from seven games stays firmly in contention for a semifinal berth.

Two great overs

It was a harakiri by the KKR batsmen as they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with some mindless batting. Watson scripted the turnaround at the start of the 15th over. Gambhir tried to loft him over extra cover but a thickish edge was pouched by Sanju Viswanadh.

With the third ball of the over, Uthappa, who was in belligerent mood, flicked one straight down Rajat Bhatia’s throat. After a gap of another delivery Watson bowled a perfect leg-cutter to send Andre Russell (0)’s middle-stump cart wheeling.

Suddenly from 121 for no loss, KKR slumped to 122 for three but the drama was far from over. The 43-year-old Tambe then pulled the rabbit out of the hat as he first bowled a wide googly which fooled Manish Pandey (0), who was stumped wide down leg-side.

Yusuf Pathan ,who has forgotten when he last played a good knock, gave a simple return catch. The wily old fox completed his hat-trick when his flipper found Ryan ten Doeschate plumb in-front to reduce KKR to 123 for six. It was as good as over for them at that point.

Watson kept his cool as he bowled a brilliant final over, when 17 runs were required, giving away only six runs.

Opener Uthappa was in punishing mood while skipper Gambhir complemented him with a well-crafted half-century as the duo laid the foundation of what looked an imminent comprehensive victory with a 121-run opening stand.

Uthappa's innings was laced with five boundaries and three towering sixes while Gambhir also played his part with six boundaries and a six to his credit.

Collective effort

Earlier, a collective effort by Rajasthan Royals batsmen saw it reach a respectable score of 170 for six after being put into bat.

In-form openers Karun Nair (44, 35b, 4x4, 1x6) and Ajinkya Rahane (30, 22b, 3x4, 1x6) provided a solid start while Sanju Viswanadh (37, 31b, 3x4) and skipper Watson (31, 20b, 2x2, 2x6) also made useful contributions to prop up the score.

Sunil Narine was again the pick of the bowlers grabbing two for 28 in four overs while R. Vinay Kumar also got a couple wickets despite being smashed for 42 in four overs.

Scoreboard

Rajasthan Royals: A. Rahane run out 30 (22b, 3x4, 1x6), K. Nair st Uthappa b Shakib 44 (35b, 4x4, 1x6), S. Viswanadh c Pandey b Narine 37 (31b, 3x4), S. Watson c Suryakumar b Narine 31 (20b, 2x4, 2x6), S. Binny c ten Doeschate b Vinay 11 (9b, 1x6), S. Smith c Suryakumar b Vinay 3 (2b), J. Faulkner (not out) 1 (1b), R. Bhatia (not out) 6 (1b, 1x6); Extras (lb-3, w-3, nb-1): 7; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 170.

Fall of wickets: 1-52 (Rahane), 2-105 (Nair), 3-136 (Viswanadh), 4-153 (Watson), 5-163 (Smith), 6-163 (Binny).

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Vinay 4-0-42-2, Umesh 3-0-31-0, Shakib 4-0-25-1, Narine 4-0-28-2, A. Russell 3-0-27-0, ten Doeschate 2-0-14-0.

Kolkata Knight Riders: R. Uthappa c Bhatia b Watson 65 (52b, 5x4, 3x6), G. Gambhir c Viswanadh b Watson 54 (34b, 6x4, 1x6), A. Russell b Watson 1 (3b), M. Pandey st Viswanadh b Tambe 0 (0b), Shakib (not out) 21 (14b, 1x4, 1x6), Yusuf c & b Tambe 0 (1b), R. ten Doeschate lbw b Tambe 0 (1b), Suryakumar (not out) 9 (17b); Extras (lb-5, w-3, nb-2): 10; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 160.

Fall of wickets: 1-121 (Gambhir), 2-122 (Uthappa), 3-122 (Russell), 4-123 (Pandey), 5-123 (Yusuf), 6-123 (ten Doeschate).

Rajasthan Royals bowling: Watson 4-0-21-3, Southee 3-0-33-0, Tambe 4-0-26-3, Faulkner 4-0-27-0, Bhatia 3-0-30-0, Tewatia 2-0-18-0.

Man-of-the-match: Pravin Tambe.

Rajasthan Royals won by 10 runs.