17-year-old Riyan Parag proved to be the match winner for Rajasthan Royals as they managed to keep their hopes alive in Vivo IPL 12 after registering a nail-biting victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 43rd match of the tournament. Earlier in the day, it was a captain’s knock by Dinesh Karthik as he registered his highest IPL score. He eventually remained unbeaten on 97 to take KKR to a competitive score of 175 in their allotted 20 overs.
It was Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith who won the toss and put the hosts in. Varun Aaron who was making a comeback in this clash looked in terrific rhythm from the outset and castled Chris Lynn with a brilliant delivery. He conceded just a solitary run in the first two overs. Aaron had only bowled a solitary over in the tournament so far where he had gone for 16 runs. Hence it was a great comeback from the out of favour Indian pacer.
KKR kept losing wickets at crucial junctures which never really allowed them to press on the accelerator. The whole course of the match was changed by a classic knock from skipper Dinesh Karthik. He looked in complete control of proceedings and took on the RR bowlers with disdain. He went onto score a breathtaking 97 of 50 deliveries which included 7 fours and 9 sixes.
Chasing a more than competitive target to chase, Rajasthan Royals began very well with openers Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane looking in complete control. Ever since getting sacked from captaincy, Rahane has come all guns blazing and played some exceptional shots. The opening duo shared a 53 runs stand in 5.2 overs before dismissals of Samson and Ajinkya Rahane in quick succession.
Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine bowled brilliantly in the middle overs and kept on chipping away with important wickets. Narine breached the defence of Steve Smith with a peach of a delivery. On the other hand, Piyush Chawla bagged the important wickets of Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes and Stuart Binny.
From there on it looked KKR will close the match out. However, Shreyas Gopal and Riyan Parag had other plans. Gopal smashed quickfire 9 balls 18. Despite his dismissal, Riyan Parag kept going and smashed some terrific shots. His six of Prasidh Krishna in the final delivery of the 18th over proved to be a match-winning hit in the end.
He was unlucky to get hit wicket on 47 of just 31 deliveries. His innings was studded with 5 fours and a couple of sixes. Jofra Archer looked in great touch even with the bat in hand. He remained unbeaten on 27 of 12 deliveries to finish off the match for Rajasthan Royals. Courtesy the victory, RR keeps their chances alive in the tournament.
Now let us have a look at what Man of the Match Varun Aaron said at the post-match presentation
Everything is fine. It was just cramps which got resolved in half an hour. I always believe in myself. I felt that the one over which I bowled in the previous game, didn’t do much wrong in that. Feeling great, as good as ever. Want to play for my country and win matches.