It is all over for Kolkata Knight Riders. For the Shah Rukh Khan-owned side the inaugural DLF-Indian Premier League is almost over though it has two more matches left.
Diehard supporters may come up with many permutations and combinations that could keep the side’s chances of a semifinal berth alive but the reality is that Shane Warne and his Rajasthan Royals has ensured the elimination of Sourav Ganguly’s Knight Riders.
The Kolkata side will now play for minor places in this Twenty20 competition.
Faced with a modest target of 148, Royals had to endure some initial reverses, but Mohammad Kaif (34, 31b, 4×4) and Man-of-the-Match Yusuf Pathan (42, 18b, 5×4, 3×6) ensured the team won by six wickets with 21 balls to spare at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
The two also put on an 81-run unbroken partnership for the fifth wicket in just 40 balls. This association also improved the IPL record of 69 runs for the same wicket established by Shane Watson and Ravindra Jadeja against Kings XI Punjab.
Umar Gul’s inspired first over — the team’s sixth — put Knight Riders back in the game when he dismissed Sohail Tanvir (13) and Graeme Smith (24, 24b, 4×4).
Then Shane Watson was bowled by Ganguly for 19 (15b, 2×4, 1×6), but Kaif and Pathan made sure the ninth victory lifted the side into the semifinals.