Ever since its inception in 2008, the Indian Premier League has witnessed many memorably matches, edge of the seat thrillers. The Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals IPL 2022 was another addition to that list. In fact, in terms of all-round quality displayed by cricketers of both sides, the KKR vs RR match at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Monday can put its hand up to be considered among the best ever of the IPL. That the match took place on the 14th anniversary of the Indian Premiere League made it more special. (KKR vs RR full highlights)
Batting first, Rajasthan Royals posted 217 for 5 in their 20 overs. In reply, despite being ahead of the required rate till the 16th over, KKR were bowled out for 210 in 19.4 overs as RR won the match by 7 runs to climb up the ladder in IPL points table.
Here are 11 reasons why KKR vs RR, IPL 2022 match was one of the best ever in the tournament’s history
Jos Buttler’s hundred: The England wicketkeeper-batter is already considered amongst the legends of the shortest format of the game and his knock against KKR showed exactly why. Buttler slammed 103 off 61 balls. More than his five sixes and nine fours, it was how Buttler built his innings that was impressive. The way he targeted the short boundaries, waited for the right bowlers, can provide a manual for budding T20 batters.
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Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer: Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson blasted 38 off 19 balls coming in to bat at Number 3 and Shimron Hetmyer followed that up with an unbeaten 26 off 13 balls. 64 runs from these two in the middle, scored at a strike rate of exactly 200 acted as a catalyst to the Buttler blitz.
Sunil Narine’s bowling: When four out of six KKR bowlers went more than 11 runs per over, Sunil Narine gave away only 21 runs and picked up 2 wickets in his 4 overs. Narine’s insane economy rate of 5.25 was by far the best in the match in which close to 430 runs were scored. Even Buttler was respectful of Narine’s spell and did not attempt too fancy shots against the off-spinner.
Shimron Hetmyer’s direct hit: Amid all the fours and sixes and also the wickets, Shimron Hetmyer came up with a superb fielding effort. On the very first ball of KKR’s chase Aaron Finch set off for a run after hitting it straight to Hetmyer at covers. The West Indies cricketer gathered it cleanly and threw off-balance to knock the stumps down at the striker’s end where Sunil Narine was not even in the frame.
Aaron Finch’s fifty: The Australia white-ball captain brushed off Narine’s run out quickly and got into business, striking the ball cleanly. It was his brilliant 58-run knock off just 28 balls that gave KKR a head start in the run chase.
Shreyas Iyer’s blitz: The KKR captain was the Buttler of the KKR innings. He paced his innings brilliantly, picked the bowlers to go after and smashed his way to 85 off 51 balls before getting outfoxed by Yuzvendra Chahal.
Ashwin’s ball to Russell: One of the strongest contenders for the moment of the game. If it was a Test match, then this delivery from Ashwin to Andre Russell, would have been talked about in next day’s newspapers. Russell had just walked in with KKR having their noses ahead in the chase when Ashwin went wide of the crease to bowl a carrom ball that evaded Russell’s defensive push and clipped the off stump. The celebration from Ashwin said it all. (Watch video here)
Chahal in 17th over: KKR needed 40 runs in 4 overs with 6 wickets in hand and a well-set Shreyas Iyer in the middle when Chahal came in to bowl the 17th over. By the time he finished his six deliveries, he had taken four wickets including a hat-trick to leave KKR shell-shocked. (Watch video)
Umesh Yadav’s cameo: There was another twist after that Chahal over and this time in KKR’s favour. Umesh Yadav hit Trent Boult for two sixes and four in the next over to once again bring the match in the balance. Umesh’s 21 off 9 balls, however, wasn’t enough for KKR.
Obed McCoy’s last over: In his first match in IPL, West Indies pacer Obed McCoy was tasked to bowl the final over with KKR needing only 11 runs. The left-arm seamer kept his calm and got the wickets of Sheldon Jackson and Umesh Yadav to finish off the match in RR’s favour.
A rare record: Last but not the least, this was the first instance in the history of IPL where a century, a five-wicket haul and a hat-trick had taken place in the same match.