The Kolkata Knight Riders ended a run of five consecutive losses in the Indian Premier League, with Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh impressing as they chased down the Rajasthan Royals for a seven-wicket win.

The Royals set a below-par target of 152-5 after top-order batsmen Jos Buttler (22) and Devdutt Padikkal (2) struggled to make headway early on, although captain Sanju Samson's half-century dragged them into contention.

Although Kolkata's own top-order fared little better as Baba Indrajith (15) and Aaron Finch (4) succumbed to early dismissals, Rana (48) and Rinku (42) fell narrowly short of half-centuries to end the Knight Riders' dire form.

Despite Samson's haul, the Royals have now fallen to back-to-back IPL defeats, missing the chance to go second in the standings with four matches remaining. 

Having won four of their last five coming into the contest, the Royals were put in to bat after Kolkata skipper Shreyas Iyer won the toss, and made a nightmare start when losing Padikkal for just two runs.

Things went from bad to worse when Buttler, the IPL's leading batsman with 566 runs prior to Monday, was caught by Shivam Mavi for just 22, way down on his season average, in the ninth over.

Samson put in a talismanic captain's performance as his knock of 54 put the Royals in contention, but was caught by Rinku in the 18th over after Karun Nair (13) and Riyan Parag (19) were also sent packing.

The Knight Riders did not have it all their own way immediately when taking up the bat, losing Indrajith and Finch to Prasidh Krishna and Kuldeep Sen before the sixth over was through in a flat start.

However, Iyer's 34 set the tone for a vast improvement in the second half of Kolkata's innings, with Rana and Rinku's outstanding partnership leading them to what proved to be a routine win as the Royals paid the price for their errors with the bat.

Below-par Buttler sets the tone

Buttler has been key to the Royals' hopes after averaging 65.33 this season, hitting a magnificent century in a crushing win over the Delhi Capitals less than two weeks ago.

However, his dismissal at the ends of Tim Southee set the tone for a miserable outing for Buttler's side, with Southee adding the wicket of Parag in the 17th as Kolkata clinched a crucial victory.

Rana and Rinku combine in style

A five-match losing streak had left Kolkata stranded near the bottom of the IPL table, but Rana and Rinku combined for 90 in a brilliantly efficient display to drag the Knight Riders to an important win and lift them to seventh in the standings, within four points of the Royals.

New Zealand fought back brilliantly on day two of the first Test after India debutant Shreyas Iyer made a classy debut century in Kanpur.

India were all out for 345 on Friday after losing six wickets for 79 runs, Tim Southee (5-69) doing much of the damage as he claimed a 13th five-wicket Test haul.

Iyer made a superb 105 at Green Park and Ravindra Jadeja was out for 50, his overnight score, while Ravichandran Ashwin chipped in with 38.

India had been in a strong position when they resumed on 258-4, but the tourists hit back like the world Test champions that they are, Southee setting the tone and Ajaz Patel taking 2-90 after Kyle Jamieson struck three times on day one.

Will Young and Tom Latham then frustrated India by taking the Black Caps through to the close on 129-0.

Young – playing his first Test in India – was unbeaten on 75 and Latham reached 50, the openers demonstrating great temperament and technique.

Latham successfully reviewed after being given out leg before and caught behind to Jadeja and Ashwin respectively as India failed to make a breakthrough.

Young and Latham will resume on day three with New Zealand trailing by 216 as they eye a first Test victory in India for 33 years.


Dream debut for Iyer, Southee outstanding

Iyer got his chance with India missing the likes of captain Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, and he grabbed it with both hands.

After striding to the crease on 75, the 26-year-old went on to become the first India batsman since Prithvi Shaw in October 2018 to make a hundred on his Test bow.

Iyer fell tamely when he was taken by Young off the bowling of Southee, who was outstanding as he bowled 11 overs unchanged in a brilliant spell during the opening session and was rewarded with another five-wicket haul.


Black Caps openers rock solid

A broken hand sustained by Devon Conway during the T20 World Cup opened the door for Young to partner Latham at the top of the order.

The right-hander gave another demonstration that he is very much at home on the Test stage, rock solid in defence and also playing positively as he crafted a second half-century in only his fourth match in the longest format.

Trusty left-hander Latham was watchful as he batted with great assurance to register a 21st Test half-century, with the openers making the India bowlers toil as they built a strong platform.

New Zealand have had little to time to dwell on their T20 World Cup final heartbreak as they prepare to face India in Jaipur on Wednesday.

The Black Caps missed out being crowned world champions in the shortest format for the first time when they suffered an eight-wicket defeat to Australia at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

A 15-man T20 squad arrived in Jaipur less than 24 hours after that loss and they will look to take their frustration out on India in a three-match series.

Tim Southee will captain New Zealand, with Kane Williamson missing the T20s as he prioritises preparing for a two-Test series that starts on November 25.

It is the beginning of a new era for India after Rahul Dravid replaced Ravi Shastri as head coach and Virat Kohli's reign as T20 captain came to an end.

Rohit Sharma leads India for this series as they look to put the disappointment of missing out on reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals behind them, starting with a first men’s T20I at Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Kohli misses the series along with Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami. Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan are among the players to come into the squad.

New Zealand hammered India by eight wickets in the World Cup, with the Black Caps having lost the previous five T20 matches between the two nations.

 

 

Black Caps set to rotate, Ferguson on the mend

Southee said such an intense schedule and spending so long in bio-secure bubbles has taken a toll on some Black Caps players, revealing how it "weighs you down".

The stand-in skipper suggested the tourists would make full use of their squad and paceman Lockie Ferguson is set to make a welcome return from a calf strain.

He said on Tuesday: "It's [squad rotation] something we have to look at throughout this series of three games in five days, with travel days in between and then a couple of days and then go into a Test series.

"The guys have to be managed throughout the series and we've got a squad of 15 here that were involved in the T20 World Cup which I'm sure we'll use throughout the T20 series."

 

Rohit wants 'fearless' approach

Rohit has never been afraid to take an aggressive approach and the skipper wants the side to take more risks with the bat at the start of a new era, with another T20 World Cup to come next year.

He said: "It's important, especially in this format, that sometimes you just need to go out there and play fearlessly and while doing that, there are chances that you might not always be successful, because it's a short format and you're always challenged.

"The pressure is always there. We certainly will keep an eye on that aspect; that's where the entire set-up will play a big part that wherever that individual bats, and how we want him to bat, goes and does the job for us. If he doesn't then we instil confidence in him that we have full faith in you, just go and do the role for the team. As long as they're trying to do the role for the team, we are happy."

Rohit has scored 352 T20I runs against New Zealand, more than any other India batsman. He made 174 runs in five World Cup knocks at an average of 34.80.

Tim Southee claimed six wickets to secure New Zealand a first-innings lead against England, who were indebted to Rory Burns' hundred in the first Test at Lord’s.

A draw appeared the most likely result after rain washed out Friday's play, but Kyle Jamieson removed home captain Joe Root with the opening delivery of the day for 42 before the outstanding Southee (6-43) put the tourists on top.

Having trapped Ollie Pope lbw for 22, the seam bowler removed both Dan Lawrence and debutant James Bracey for ducks, leaving England at 140-6 and in danger of being asked to follow on.

That possibility disappeared thanks to a seventh-wicket stand worth 63 between Burns – who had witnessed the carnage unfold at the non-striker’s end – and Ollie Robinson, the latter following up four wickets with the ball by making a crucial 42.

Southee eventually ended the partnership and with Mark Wood (0) and Stuart Broad (10) also departing before he had reached three figures, Burns had to rely on last man James Anderson to keep him company through to three figures.

The left-handed opener was given two reprieves along the way, wicketkeeper BJ Watling failed to take a stumping opportunity when on 77, while Southee shelled a catch at second slip 11 runs later.

Burns' third Test hundred eventually arrived from the 267th delivery faced, and he had continued on to 132 by the time Southee had him caught behind, both players knowing they had done enough to see their names added to the famous honours board. England were dismissed for 275, meaning they trailed by 103.

New Zealand extended that advantage to 165 as they closed on 62-2, losing Devon Conway (23), who made a double century in the first innings, as well as Kane Williamson (1) along the way, with Robinson (2-8) removing both.

All seams good for Black Caps

Southee claimed his 12th five-wicket haul in Tests and his second at Lord's, having also taken 6-50 at the famous venue eight years earlier. Richard Hadlee (six) and Chris Cairns (three) are the only Kiwi bowlers to have taken five in an innings on more occasions in England.

Burns props up England

Left out during the tour of India, Burns made sure he seized his opportunity at the top of the order. There were a few bumps along the way – he was twice hit on the helmet by short balls – and the odd moment of good fortune, but a knock that included 16 fours and a solitary six was pivotal for his side.

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