Durban: Laxmi Shukla hit an unbeaten 48 while Charl Langeveldt took three wickets as the Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Rajasthan Royals by four-wickets to dump the defending champions out of the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
“It’s really disappointing but we were just not good enough the whole tournament,” said Rajasthan captain Shane Warne. “I want to thank everyone in South Africa that supported me and the Royals.”
After displaying a disciplined all-round fielding performance to restrict Rajasthan to 101-9 in their allotted 20 overs, Kolkata stuttered in reply and midway through the innings it seemed Rajasthan would scrape through.
But man-of-the-match Shukla reversed the momentum, cracking three boundaries and two sixes in 46 balls to take Kolkata to only their third win of the series with just three balls to spare. He shared a match-winning unbeaten stand of 57 runs with Ajit Agarkar (13 not out).
“Every game in the series has gone down to the last over and today was not different,” said Kolkata captain Brendon McCullum. “We bowled really well but put ourselves under pressure with the bat. But Shukla and Ajit were brilliantly to take us home.”
Kolkata lost opener Sourav Ganguly in the first over after nicking Munaf Patel to Ravindra Jadeja at point for a duck.
McCullum was then trapped lbw by Amit Singh on the first ball of the second over to leave Kolkata on 9-2. Rob Quiney produced a stunning diving catch to dismiss Yashpal Singh off Patel in the fifth over.
Pace bowler Patel was Rajasthan’s best bowler with 2-14 in four overs.
Nine runs later Brad Hodge was stumped by Naman Ojha off Johan Botha for six, then David Hussey was well taken in the deep by Niraj Patel from offspinner Johan Botha’s ball to leave Kolkata on 37-5.
Suicidal running between the wickets saw Shoaib Shaikh being run out by a combination of Botha and Yusuf Pathan for six in the 12th over.
Kolkata, who are already out of contention for the semi-finals, were put on the victory path by their bowlers in a remarkable fielding show.
South Africa medium pacer Langeveldt extracted good bounce from the Kingsmead wicket to finish with an impressive 3-15 in four overs, while pace bowler Ajit Agarkar ended with 2-15 in from his four overs.