Rajasthan Royals clinch Cape Town thriller

This is what is called as a perfect cliffhanger! A battle of nerves! And the stronger team prevailed.

The first ever match of the Indian Premier League to be decided by the Super Over was an absolute treat for the cricketing fans and the defending champions Rajasthan Royals got back to their winning ways in style.

Chasing a winning total of 151 runs, Knight Riders did not have a very encouraging start, but their former captain Sourav Ganguly played a fighting knock of 46 runs to take his side closer to win. But the Old Knight fell when his team needed just two runs to win off 1 ball.

Ishant Sharma came to the crease but was run-out while stealing the winning run. He tied the match nevertheless. According to new T20 rules, bowl out has been replaced by the Super Over, which means – each team gets one over to bat. The team that scores the maximum runs wins. If it’s a tie then the team that hits the maximum sixes wins. Each team selects two players – one to bowl and one to bat.

KKR sent Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle to play that over and they made 16 runs off Rajasthan’s Kamran Khan. In reply, Yusuf Pathan went berserk against Ajantha Mendis, who fed him with lose deliveries. Yusuf slammed 18 runs off just four deliveries with the help of two massive sixes and a winning boundary. He was adjudged the ‘Man of the Match’.

Earlier, put in to bat by the Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals made a fighting score of 150 runs at the loss of five wickets in their IPL match at the Newlands Stadium.

Knight Riders went for the kill and got the first success in the second over of the match. Kolkata pacer Anureet Singh struck in the second over to dismiss Paul Valthaty for five runs. The Rajasthan opener slashed one from Anureet and Ishant took a well-judged catch in the deep.

In the very next over, Ishant removed Quiney for 6 runs with a short delivery that was going outside the off-stump. Quiney, in an attempt to steer it toward the covers, edged it and Chris Gayle gathered it cleanly at the first slip.

After these initial blows, Yusuf Pathan and Graeme Smith combined to consolidate the innings and added 56 runs for the third wicket. But the latest spin sensation from Sri Lanka, Ajantha Mendis broke the crucial partnership and dismissed the duo in his same over.

Mendis got his first victim in Rajasthan opener Smith for 15 runs. Smith tried to direct a fuller delivery from Mendis in the on side. But the ball hit his pad in front of the stumps and flew towards Gayle at first slip who took a low, diving catch.

Yusuf missed out on his well-deserved fifty against as Mendis got rid of him for 42 runs. Pathan, who had hit six boundaries and two sixes, played Mendis against the spin in not a very elegant way and a substitute fielder caught him safely at point.

Ishant got his second victim in Ravindra Jadeja (22). The Saurashtra all-rounder mishit his shot and was successfully taken by Yashpal Singh at short mid-off.

A young Kolkata pacer, Anureet Singh was rewarded for his good bowling with the wicket of Dmitri Mascarenhas. The English batsman was done in by a beautiful Yorker from the rookie that knocked off his off-stump.

Abhishek Raut, with his skipper at the other hand, slammed the last over for 18 runs with the help of two sixes and a four, and remained unbeaten on 21 runs to take team’s total to 150.

It was not a very encouraging start for the KKR while chasing as they lost their captain and opener McCullum for 3 runs.

The Kiwi demolisher continued to struggle with his woeful form for the third time in the tournament. He fell prey to Dmitri Mascarenhas for just three runs. McCullum, lured by a short and wide delivery, tried to clear the cover fence. He failed to connect it properly as the ball hit the lower edge of his bat and went in the air, only to land in the hands of Kamran Khan at cover.

Next to go was the dangerous Chris Gayle, who slammed quickfire 41 runs before falling to Shane Warne. Gayle fell for the flight and was taken by Ravindra Jadeja at long-on. Gayle, who survived a chance as wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat dropped him, struck two fours and four sixers during his knock.

Rawat compensated quickly for his goof-up as he took a magnificent catch to dismiss Laxmi Ratan Shukla (13) off Kamran Khan’s bowling. Shukla, who was looking to steer it through the covers, edged it and Rawat dived to his left to take a low catch.

Kamran soon got Sanjay Bangar as his second wicket of the evening. Bangar cut a delivery that was short and a bit outside the off-stump and was taken at backward point by Graeme Smith for 2 runs.

After Bangar’s fall, Yashpal Singh joined Ganguly to consolidate. He added 49 runs with the Kolkata Prince when Warne got rid of him for 20 runs.

Ganguly, who was batting like a commander and slammed four 4s and two 6s during his knock of 46, faltered at the final front. He was sent back by Warne’ ‘tornado’ bowler Kamran Khan after he was caught behind by Mahesh Rawat.

And what followed is history!

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