Kolkata Knight Riders progressed to the second Indian Premier League qualifier, as Rajasthan Royals failed to capitalise on a strong start and were eliminated by 25 runs.
The Royals had put together a strong run to reach the post-season and all was going so well after four overs of bowling when they had already claimed three wickets.
But the Knight Riders recovered through captain Dinesh Karthik (52) and Andre Russell (49 not out), and a target of 170 presented Rajasthan with some real problems.
Ajinkya Rahane (46) and Sanju Samson (50) battled away, but the Royals never really looked like scoring at a pace that would see them reach the required total as they toiled while batting through the full 20 overs without England pair Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
Rajasthan will head home after their eventual total of 144-4, but Kolkata ride on, hosting Sunrisers Hyderabad next for a place in the final against Chennai Super Kings.
KNIGHT RIDERS RECOVER
Tuesday's first qualifier had been a rollercoaster affair and these two teams, looking to reach the second match, provided another in this one, with the first over of play summing up the day.
Krishnappa Gowtham's (2-15) hectic bowling returned 10 runs and the wicket of Sunil Narine (4) from the opening six balls, before the Royals looked to have taken control with another two dismissals within the powerplay.
With the Knight Riders 24-3, Rajasthan should have pressed on and teed up a simple win. Instead, Kolkata rallied through Karthik and Russell, the pair providing 14 boundaries between them.
A total of 169-7 represented a very good return given their start, Russell firing five maximums as he saw the innings through to its close.
Skipper's special knock and Dre Russ' big hits in the end have propelled us to a challenging total!— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) May 23, 2018
Onto the bowlers to defend this. #KKRvRR #TeesraVaar #KKRHaiTaiyaar #Eliminator pic.twitter.com/y4iJ6AE9OL
SLUGGISH ROYALS FALL WELL SHORT
And it quickly became clear that a target of 170 could be a problem for the Royals.
The run rate was initially slow before briefly improving with Rahane and Samson at the crease, but the economical Kuldeep Yadav (1-18) caught and bowled the former, while the latter slogged high into the hands of Javon Searles.
Kolkata's economy came to the fore and Rajasthan still required 40 with just two overs remaining, Piyush Chawla having also impressed with figures of 2-24 from his four overs.
Heinrich Klaasen (18no) and Gowtham (9no) returned just six runs from the next six balls and eight from the final half-dozen as the Knight Riders coasted to an impressive win.
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