Jaipur, April 9 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals put up gritty performance to beat defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders for their second straight win in the Indian Premier League here Monday.
Brad Hodge (46 not out) took Rajasthan to 144 for six and then the bowlers did well to restrict a powerful Kolkata batting line-up to 125. Siddharth Trivedi and Kevon Cooper struck thrice for the home team as Eoin Morgan’s splendid innings of 51 went in vain.
Kolkata batsman played far too many loose shots in the initial part of the chase, stumbling to 44 for five in the eighth over.
Rajasthan’s new signing Rahul Shukla struck twice in his first over, removing Manvinder Bisla and the great Jacques Kallis to be on a hat-trick. Going out with an all pace attack on a green pitch with good carry and bounce worked well for the hosts.
Trivedi produced another double strike to put his side on top. The medium pacer caught Manoj Tiwary (14) in front of the stumps and dismissed opposition skipper Gautam Gambhir (22) three balls later, with wicket-keeper Dishant Yagnik taking a stunning catch.
And when Laxmi Ratna Shukla was holed out at long on, Kolkata was left reeling at 56 for six.
Eoin Morgan played some attacking shots to keep his team alive in the game but wickets falling regularly at the other hand made his job tougher. The southpaw still managed to take his team close to the target and crossed the 50-run mark with a six over fine leg.
With Kolkata needing 23 off the last 12 balls, he played on to the stumps while trying another premeditated stroke off Cooper, ending all hopes for the visitors.
Earlier, Hodge lent respectability to the total after Rajasthan lost key wickets of Ajinkya Rahane (36) and Cooper (0) in successive balls. Both batsmen fell to the guile of Sunil Narine.
Hodge looked in supreme touch in his unbeaten effort which comprised seven cracking boundaries. Wicket-keeper Yagnik chipped in with a handy 16 off 11 balls.
The last two overs went for 30 runs with 18 coming from Narine’s fourth over. The West Indian ended with figures of two for 28.