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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals Match Bulletin

Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals, IPL, Durban

Langeveldt and Shukla knock defending champions out

May 20, 2009

Kolkata Knight Riders 102 for 6 (Shukla 48*, Munaf 2-15) beat Rajasthan Royals 101 for 9 (Langeveldt 3-15, Agarkar 2-15) by four wickets

The much-ridiculed underdogs of this year, Kolkata Knight Riders, have ended the tournament for the defending champions, Rajasthan Royals. But not before they almost made a mess of the chase. Laxmi Ratan Shukla was the saviour for Kolkata, after they had stumbled to 45 for 6 in 11.3 overs. That they were chasing such a low total was thanks to Charl Langeveldt, whose 3 for 15 exposed Kolkata's blunder of not playing him throughout the tournament.

Full report to follow

20 overs Rajasthan Royals 101-9 (Langeveldt 3-15, Agarkar 2-15) v Kolkata Knight Riders

A must-win game for Rajasthan Royals turned into the most frenzied innings of the tournament. The most expensive first over of the tournament, a wicket next ball followed by so many that the first-over score took five more overs to double, debutant Charl Langeveldt exposing the blunder in not playing him all these days, three run-outs, all packed into 20 overs. And by the end of those 20 overs, the much-ridiculed underdogs of this year were well on their way to ending the tournament for the underdogs of last year.

It has been quite a fashion this season, started ironically by Shane Warne, to throw the ball first up to a spinner. And it worked temporarily for Warne's team as Naman Ojha slogged and lofted Brad Hodge for three sixes to take 22 off the first over. Throw in a dropped catch and it was fair to assume that normal service had resumed for Kolkata Knight Riders.

How fitting it was that when Langeveldt finally got a game he was not given the first over. But the first ball Langeveldt bowled was a bouncer that hurried Rob Quiney up, got the top edge and nestled in wicketkeeper Shoaib Shaikh's gloves. The extra pace and bounce was obvious and the away movement lethal. In his next over Langeveldt removed Ojha, with one that kicked off from just back of a length, and moved away too. In between these two strikes, Swapnil Asnodkar ran himself out when going for a single after having played the ball down the pitch. From 22 for 0 to 28 for 3 in 15 balls.

Kolkata then hustled Rajasthan with quick bowling and athletic fielding. Ashok Dinda proved the perfect foil to Langeveldt, not lacking in intent, and pulling off the Asnodkar run-out. Ajit Agarkar removed Johan Botha in his first over, and when Yusuf Pathan sliced him for four in the same over, Rajasthan had barely doubled the 22 they got in the first over. In a smart move Brendon McCullum brought Langeveldt back just before the time-out. Sure enough he delivered, with Niraj Patel's wicket, as Rajasthan stumbled to 62 for 5 in 10 overs.

That, though, was not the messiest Rajasthan innings would get. They still had Yusuf and Ravindra Jadeja batting, and Tyron Henderson to follow. Run-outs, both of which Jadeja had a hand in, accounted for Yusuf and Henderson in four balls. When Yusuf dug a yorker out, Jadeja called him for one, then realised the ball had traveled too fast towards Laxmi Shukla, the bowler. Jadeja didn't go through, and the most dangerous batsman in the team was left stranded. Jadeja's face told a story of guilt. Three balls later, when Jadeja called Henderson for a quick single, he found to his horror that Henderson was too slow, and that David Hussey had hit the stumps direct.

From 62 for 7 in 11.2, all Rajasthan could attain was respectability. But Langeveldt had a good support cast today. None of Dinda, Agarkar, Sourav Sarkar or Shukla provided Rajasthan any respite. Sarkar accounted for Jadeja when he could have made up for the Yusuf run-out. Only nine came after Jadeja's dismissal, in the last 3.4 overs. The last over, from Agarkar, went for 21 less than the first, and also yielded Warne's wicket.