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Parag’s brilliant 47 came off 31 balls with five boundaries and two sixes Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Rajasthan Royals pulled off a thrilling three-wicket win with four balls to spare against Kolkata Knight Riders in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens on Thursday.

The victory came largely due to the exploits of 17-year-old Riyan Parag, who scored 47 runs, and Jofra Archer, who remained unbeaten on 27. They put on 44 runs for the seventh wicket. Their effort down the order resulted in Kolkata’s skipper Dinesh Karthik’s fine unbeaten knock of 97 off 50 balls with seven boundaries and nine sixes going in vain.

Chasing Kolkata’s score of 175 for 4 in 20 overs, Rajasthan openers Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson put on 53 runs in just 5.2 overs. Sunil Narine trapped Rahane leg before for 34. Samson was then clean bowled by Piyush Chawla for 22 while attempting a paddle sweep. Worse followed when Narine clean-bowled Steve Smith for just 2. When Chawla removed the dangerous Ben Stokes for 11, Rajasthan were 78 for 4 at the half-way mark. Stuart Binny hit a run-a-ball 11 runs before Chawla had him caught by Rinku Singh at deep mid-wicket.

In the last three overs, Rajasthan needed 33 runs. Parag’s brilliant 47 came off 31 balls with five boundaries and two sixes. He fell when Rajasthan needed nine runs in the final over, but Archer’s unbeaten 27 off 12 balls, with two boundaries and two sixes, got the visitors home.

Earlier, Rajasthan won the toss and elected to bowl. Kolkata pacer Varun Aaron clean-bowled Chris Lynn with the third ball of the first over. The ball nipped back and Lynn chopped onto his wicket for a duck. Opener Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana took their time, but then put on 31 runs in the next 4.3 overs. Aaron then struck again by clean-bowling Gill for 14 with a beauty that swung in to take his inside edge before hitting the stumps.

Rana and Karthik could only add another 11 runs in the next 3.2 overs when leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal had Rana cut one straight to Aaron at backward point for 21. With three wickets down and only 42 scored in the first nine overs, Kolkata needed some aggressive batting and a strong partnership. Karthik hit the first six of the day when he carted Gopal over deep square leg in the 11th over. He went on to hit three consecutive boundaries in that over and when Narine too hit a six in the last ball, it became a 25-run over.

The pair put on 39 runs in 3.1 overs, but Narine got run out for 11 when Karthik wanted a second run. Andre Russell walked in to play his first innings after being selected for the West Indies to play in the World Cup. Kolkata reached the 100- run mark in the 15th over. Russell was dropped by Binny at deep point off Archer when he was on 4. He celebrated his escape by hitting Jaydev Unadkat for a six over deep midwicket.

Karthik reached his 50 in 35 balls. On 14, Russell was dropped again, this time by substitute Prashant Chopra off Oshane Thomas. However, he soon pulled Thomas to Parag at deep mid-wicket who managed to hold on to the catch.

Carlos Brathwaite lasted only three balls and scores five runs, but Karthik, who remained unbeaten, ensured the team got to a respectable total.

Brief scores:

Rajasthan Royals bt Kolkata Knight Riders by three wickets. Kolkata Knight Riders 175 for 6 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 21, Dinesh Karthik 97n.o, Varun Aaron 2 for 20) Rajasthan Royals 177 for 7 in 19.2 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 34, Sanju Samson 22, Riyan Parag 47, Jofra Archer 27n.o, Sunil Narine 2 for 25) . Man of the match: Varun Aaron.