Cometh the hour cometh the man. Pat Cummins – the most expensive foreign buy in IPL history – has often faced criticism for his failures to live up to the extraordinary price tag ever since Kolkata Knight Riders bought him for a whopping Rs 15.50 crore. The Australian did sparkle with the bat occasionally but his main responsibility as a bowler has always been under scrutiny.
This was a match between Cummins’ team and Rajasthan Royals which made it certain right from the first ball at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday that only the winner would stand alone and alive in the battle for playoffs after Kings XI Punjab went out of contention following their loss to Chennai Super Kings earlier in the day. SCORECARD |
Eoin Morgan led from the front with an unbeaten 68 off 35 balls, taking KKR to a fighting 191/7 in the door-die contest. However, it looked to be another disappointment in the making for the lanky pacer when Rajasthan Royals began the chase with Robin Uthappa flicking Cummins for a long-leg six in the very first ball. It was soon followed by two wides, a six and a four from the blade of Ben Stokes and Cummins suddenly looked a spoilsport in KKR’s scheme of things.
But little did anyone realize how badly hurt the Aussie’s pride might have been as he turned the table on the contest in a breath-taking manner, giving the opponents a run for their money, literally.
IPL 2020, Match 54: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals
Pat Cummins claimed four wickets and skipper Eoin Morgan scored 68 as Kolkata Knight Riders knocked Rajasthan Royals out of the Indian Premier League with a 60-run win in Dubai on Sunday. (BCCI/IPL/PTI Photo)
He dismissed Uthappa in the last ball of his eventful over and then came back to get rid of Stokes and rival captain Steve Smith in his very next over, proving that he is indeed worth his weight in gold when the team needed him the most.
And when Shivam Manvi accounted for Sanju Samson, RR lost all their potential game-changers inside the first four overs of their chase, peeling all the ingredients of a contest off the game.
From then onwards, a KKR win was not only a foregone conclusion but the two-time champions were even looking at increasing the net run-rate to bolster their playoffs hopes.
01:12IPL 2020: Kolkata Knight Riders beat Rajasthan Royals to keep play-off hopes alive
Having cantered to a 60-run win after RR managed just 131 for 9, KKR moved up to the fourth position, leaving fellow playoffs-contender Sunrisers Hyderabad in a must-win situation against Mumbai Indians.
If the second half of the game belonged to Cummins, who finished with the figures of 4-0-34-0, Morgan certainly took the centre stage in the first half.
On a night when Rahul Tewatia continued to make noise in the silent and empty stadiums with a superb bowling performance (3/25), thus joining the elite list of Indians with 200 runs and 10 wickets in a single IPL season, RR found in Morgan an adversary who simply refused to leave the stage without a fight.