IPL 2019, Match 43: KKR vs RR – Aaron’s spell, Karthik’s knock and much more

Rajasthan Royals kept their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs alive with a stunning win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. Chasing 176 runs to win, Riyan Parag and Jofra Archer batted sensibly and carried the team past winning line with four balls remaining. Varun Aaron was named Man of the match for his sterling effort in the field.

Earlier, Steve Smith won the toss and chose to field first. Aaron bowled with guile and struck early blows to halt KKR from running away. It was captain Karthik’s magnificent 97 not out that helped the home side post a defendable score. Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla spun a web but Parag and Archer found a way to escape. Archer then sealed the tie with a six over covers. Here are five talking points from the match –

1. Varun Aaron’s fiery spell

The fast bowler from Jharkhand is very much the Indian ‘Shaun Tait’. Aaron was known for bowling in high 140s but control over line and length was his perennial issue. The pacer was not picked up by any franchise in IPL 2018. He returned to the IPL this year as RR signed him. Aaron justified the selection with his performances yesterday.

Opening the bowling, Aaron began with a maiden and sent back Chris Lynn with an inswinging delivery. On the last ball of his third over, the fast bowler unsettled Gill’s woodwork. Aaron also contributed with a run-out and a catch. For his fielding and the spell of 4-1-20-2, the RR pacer won the Man of the Match Award.

2. Dinesh Karthik’s belligerent 97*

Dinesh Karthik

RR bowlers worked hard on the tactics to dislodge Andre Russell from the crease but Dinesh Karthik’s knock was out of the syllabus for them. The captain walked in at the delicate situation of 31/2 in five overs. The reserve Indian wicketkeeper scored his first run on the seventh ball he faced. He was batting on 3(10) when he got going.

In the 11th over bowled by Shreyas Gopal, Karthik went on a rampage and smashed six, four, four, four on the first four balls. He went back to a cautious approach after this. Karthik came back firing in the death overs. In the last three overs, he faced 13 balls and scored 40 runs off them. He ultimately finished with 97 not out. Had Karthik scored three more runs, he would have become only the second centurion for KKR in IPL history.

3. Piyush Chawla and his magic spell

With 146 wickets in the IPL, Chawla is already one of the top spinners in the competition. Coming into this game, KKR bowling had been dismal. They had conceded plenty of runs and were taking lesser wickets than any other team. With Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla in their elements, KKR were a different team yesterday.

Samson tried to paddle sweep Chawla and got bowled in the attempt. He then dismissed Ben Stokes with a googly that the English all-rounder failed to figure out. In his final over, the leggie sent back dangerous Stuart Binny and helped KKR gain footing in the match. Chawla’s bowling figures of 3/20 are the best for KKR in this season.

4. Riyan Parag’s adventurous knock

Riyan Parag

The 17-year old Assamese all-rounder made his IPL debut this season with Rajasthan Royals. In his first match against Chennai Super Kings, Parag scored 16 runs and bowled as well. Yesterday, with RR in a difficult situation, Parag stepped up a notch and scored a fighting 47 from 31 balls. With the win just nine runs away, the all-rounder was hit-wicket on the bowling of Andre Russell.

5. Remember the name?

Carlos Brathwaite smashed Ben Stokes for four sixes in the last over of the 2016 T20I World Cup final at Eden Gardens. His stint with KKR evoked the memories of his heroics, but he has been a disappointment so far. In two matches, he has scored only 11 runs while coming to bat out at the death. His bowling has been ordinary. The all-rounder needs to find his mojo.