Jaipur: Kolkata Knight Riders controlled Rajashtan Royals with its spinners and cruised to a convincing seven-wicket win in the Indian Premier League match on Wednesday night.
Spinners Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav and Nitish Rana bowled 10 steady overs in between them, shared four wickets for 52 runs and contained Rajasthan to 160-8.
Robin Uthappa (48) and captain Dinesh Karthik (42 not out) led Kolkata to 163-3 in 18.5 overs despite the loss of hard-hitting Chris Lynn in the first over for zero.
“It feels good to get two wins on the trot,” Karthik said after they also defeated Delhi Daredevils on Sunday. “The wristspinners are a little harder to pick ... which is why we bowled them at the start.”
Only captain Ajinkya Rahane (36) looked fluent against the spinners after Karthik won the toss and opted to field first.
Rahane struck four successive boundaries off Sunil Narine’s first four deliveries before he was smartly stumped by Karthik off Rana’s offspin in the seventh over.
D’Arcy Short’s struggle against the spinners in the IPL continued as he never looked comfortable and scored a scrappy 44 off 43 balls before he was bowled by Rana in the 13th over.
Leg-spinner Chawla, who opened the bowling, had Rajashtan’s million-dollar signing Ben Stokes (14) caught in his return spell as Kolkata struck with regular intervals to restrict Rajasthan.
Narine made up for his bowling with a 35-run knock off 25 balls and shared 70-run stand with Uthappa after Lynn was clean bowled by off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham (2-23) in the first over.
But Rajasthan’s seamers struggled against a strong Kolkata batting line-up as Uthappa hit six fours and two sixes before holing out in the deep off Gowtham.
Karthik and Rana (35 not out) then put on 61 runs for the match-winning fourth wicket stand off 38 balls as none of the Rajashtan seamers could pose any threat.
Karthik, who hit two fours and two sixes, brought off the victory in style with six balls to spare when he hoisted Australian seamer Ben Laughlin over long on boundary.
“I thought we were 15-20 short,” Rahane said. “This wicket was on the slower side, it was keeping a bit low, but no complaints. I felt our intensity was a little bit down today.”
Kolkata now have six points from five matches and were joint-leaders with Sunrisers Hyderabad before their game against Kings XI Punjab on Thursday night. Rajashtan have won two and lost two games and have four points.