Knight Riders bowl out Rajasthan

Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders produced a clinical bowling display to bowl out Rajsathan Royals for a paltry 81 runs, the lowest total of the ongoing Indian Premier League here today.

Kolkata were also helped by a spineless batting performance by Rajasthan batsmen, who played some irresponsible shots at a placid Eden Gardens pitch to be bundled out in 15.2 overs.

Vintage Laxmipathy Balaji was the star with the ball for Knight Riders with figures of three for 15. He was brilliantly backed up by Bangladesh captain Shakib-al-Hasan (2/21) and some tidy work by the fielders.

After a shaky start, Ashok Menaria showed some promise with a quickfire 21 from 17 balls but there was no end to Rajsathan`s misery as they lost their last five wickets for just three runs within a space of 13 balls.

Put into bat, Rajasthan made their intentions clear promoting in-form Shane Watson (11 off 13) up the order to open the batting with Amit Paunikar, who scored a run-a-ball 15.

But Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir justified his decision to bowl first as Balaji and Abdulla made early in-roads, dismissing both the openers within five overs.

Just when Watson and Paunikar were beginning to look dangerous with some clean strikes off Shakib, Gambhir`s move of bringing in Balaji and Abdulla paid rich dividends.

Balaji castled through Watson`s defence with a gem of an outswinger and in the next over, left arm spinner Abdulla disturbed Paunikar`s timber to reduce Royals to 28 for two.

Knight Riders` fielding was equally sharp today as they managed two quick run-outs — Faiz Fazal (3) and Abhishek Raut (11) — in a space of six balls to see Rajasthan totter at 43 for four after eight overs.

In Knight Riders` second home match even though it was not a packed Eden, yet a turnout of about 50,000 ensured a vibrant atmosphere with principal owner and Bollywood heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan cheering from the corporate box.

There was a brief comeback of sorts for Rajsathan with Menaria taking charge of the Knight Riders attack.

Just when a partnership between Menaria and Ross Taylor was developing, the latter was scalped by Yusuf Pathan to bring an end to their recovery process that yielded 24 runs.

Balaji returned to haunt in the 14th over as the seamer claimed two wickets, including that of Menaria (21 off 17 balls) in the same over to reduce Rajsathan to 79 for seven.

Balaji castled Ajinkya Rahane (6) in the first ball of 14th over and then Maneria became his third victim in the last delivery of the same over when the southpaw was trying to lift the pacer over the third man.

Then Shakib claimed two wickets in consecutive deliveries, while Lee gave the icing on the cake claiming the last wicket in the 16th over to wrap up the Rajasthan innings inside the 100-run mark.

From 78 for six in 13.1 overs, Rajasthan were eventually skittled out for 81 in 15.2 overs.