Steven Smith’s half-century went in vain as the Rajasthan Royals slipped to an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of the Kolkata Knight Riders in Sunday’s Indian Premier League clash at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
Smith and England counterpart Jos Buttler, who will likely be Ashes series rivals later this year, pushed the Royals to a final total of 139 for three. The Aussie struck 73 not out from 59 deliveries to the Englishman’s 37 from 34.
The Kolkata bowlers were miserly in challenging conditions, with England seamer Harry Gurney statistically the best en route to figures of two for 25 in four overs. Spin trio Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla played complementary roles.
The Knight Riders’ pursuit was led by Narine and Australian opener Chris Lynn. They shared a 91-run alliance inside nine overs, after which a quick-fire cameo from the hard-hitting Robin Uthappa ensured triumph with 37 deliveries to spare.
Gurney was named Man of the Match. The result catapulted the Knight Riders to first position in the 2019 tournament’s eight-team standings, while the Royals were left in seventh spot.
Monday will see the Kings XI Punjab take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chandigarh.
Photo: SPORTZPICS for BCCI | Rahul Gulati