IPL

Morgan has a shocker as Rajasthan Royals overcome Kolkata Knight Riders

By Sports Desk April 24, 2021

Rajasthan Royals lifted themselves off the foot of the Indian Premier League with a six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a bottom-of-the-table encounter.

Dismantled by Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last game, the Royals got the response they needed on Saturday.

Chris Morris was the star with the ball for Rajasthan, his 4-23 helping limit Kolkata to 133-9 at the Wankhede Stadium, while the South African also ran out Eoin Morgan.

Jos Buttler was struck in the grille early on by Pat Cummins, but the Royals did not allow that incident to shake them, captain Sanju Samson (42 not out) guiding them to an important victory.

Put into bat by Samson, KKR looked set to reach the end of the first powerplay with their full complement of wickets intact, only for Buttler to send Shubman Gill packing with a direct hit.

Gill had been dropped early on by Yashasvi Jaiswal, but the teenager atoned with a fine take to dismiss Sunil Narine.

Morgan was walking back to the sidelines without facing a ball when a mix-up with Rahul Tripathi resulted in a run-out.

Tripathi (36) made amends with a pair of sixes, yet he soon picked out Mustafizur Rahman at deep midwicket, and Morris subsequently took centre stage with four wickets in the space of two overs.

With an achievable target in Rajasthan's sites, Buttler took a nasty blow in the second over, but was passed fit to continue, only to be pinned leg before wicket by Varun Chakravarthy.

An impressive flurry from Jaiswal (22) was cut short in the next over, though Samson and Shivam Dube steadied the ship, picking their moments to punish any slack deliveries.

A googly from Varun did for Dube, with Rahul Tewatia succumbing in the 14th over. 

KKR appeared to have the bit between their teeth when David Miller was given out lbw, but a review proved the ball had pitched outside leg and, after surviving a run-out scare, Samson clipped away the winning run with seven balls to spare.

Morgan gets it wrong

It was a poor performance all-round for Morgan – who had averaged 81 runs across his five previous knocks against the Royals – and his side. Tripathi was their top scorer with the bat, while Cummins (0-36) was particularly expensive with the ball, and Russell was not even called upon. 

"The batting was the let down and we lacked a lot of intent throughout the whole innings," Morgan said. "We were behind the eight ball right from the get-go. Possibly, we were 40 short which is a lot in a T20 game. The bowlers had too much to do. It's a stark contrast to the last game."

More Mumbai misery for KKR

Kolkata had beaten the Royals in six of their last seven IPL encounters before Saturday's meeting, but that streak ended with a whimper.

Indeed, the Wankhede Stadium has been an unhappy hunting ground for KKR, who have now lost each of their last eight IPL games at the ground.

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    Tsonga, who reached a career-high ranking of world number five in 2012, confirmed in April that he would retire at the culmination of his French Open campaign.

    That duly came in the first round on Tuesday as he bowed out to world number eight Casper Ruud 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-6 (7-0).

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    Tsonga is one of just three players, along with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, to have beaten Nadal, Federer and Djokovic while they were ranked world number one.

    He is also one of three players, alongside Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych, who have defeated Nadal, Federer and Djokovic at grand slams.

    A video tribute was played on court after his defeat to Ruud, which featured messages from the sport's most iconic players.

    Federer said: "I wanted to congratulate you on an amazing career and it was a pleasure to share the court with and play against you, even to lose against you!

    "We had some great battles. Enjoy the moment in Paris with all your friends and family, in front of all your adoring spectators."

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    "We get along well and he's a really nice guy. He brought a lot of positive attention and popularity to our sport not just because of his dynamic game style, but also his charisma and his personality, so it's a big loss for professional men's tennis to have him retire.

    "I wish him all the best, and he definitely should be happy about his career and his achievements. He's made his mark and his legacy in our sport."

    Nadal said: "He is very charismatic. I've known him since we were kids; he is a good guy and I think he brings a lot of positive things to our sport so I'm sad to see him going but we are getting old so it's going to happen for everyone."

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    "This is what I'm going to miss – the contact with the crowd. And with those who have been supporting me for all these years.

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    That confirmed the end of Tsonga's long career. He bows out having won, according to Opta, 464 Tour-level matches since September 2004.

    Tsonga is one of just three players, along with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, to have beaten Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic while they were ranked world number one.

    He is also one of three players (also Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych) who have defeated Nadal, Federer and Djokovic at grand slams.

    Tsonga also became the first player since Guillermo Canas in 2002 to defeat four straight top-10 players at a Masters 1000 tournament when he triumphed in Toronto in 2014.

    "It's tough for me and all the players that you're stopping. You've been an inspiration to me and so many of the other players, so thank you for the memories," Ruud told Tsonga after the match.

    "[I have] so many good memories watching Jo on TV. He's such a great guy [and] nice person on and off the court. He's a good example of what a player should be."

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