Cooper stars for Royals

Kevon Cooper (left) was outstanding with the ball again for Rajasthan Royals.
Kevon Cooper (left) was outstanding with the ball again for Rajasthan Royals.

JAIPUR – Trinidad and Tobago’s Kevon Cooper bowled brilliantly to snatch 3 for 15 as his Rajasthan Royals continued their winning form with a convincing 19-run win over defending Indian Premier League champions Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur today.

Defending a modest 144, the Royals bowlers put on a good show to bowl out Knight Riders for 125 to script their second win of the tournament.

Chasing 145, KKR started off briskly with Gautam Gambhir giving the charge to Sreesanth and depositing him for a six in the very first over. Rahul Shukla struck twice in the third over, first bowling Manvinder Bisla (1) before having Jaques Kallis (0) caught behind. Siddharth Trivedi then further sunk KKR dismissing Gambhir (22) and Manoj Tiwary (14) in quick succession. The dangerous Yusuf Pathan (0) fell the very next over to Cooper leaving KKR reeling at 44 for 5.

Laxmi Shukla (2) fell to Trivedi handing him his third wicket. Eoin Morgan (51) who was given an early reprieve by Shane Watson on 2, made the most of it smashing Rahul Shukla for a boundary and a six off the 14th over. KKR lost Rajat Bhatia (12) holing out at deep midwicket off Shaun Tait, before Sreesanth picked up Brett Lee (5).

Needing 23 runs from the last two overs, Cooper sealed the match taking the wicket of the well set Morgan who was slow to begin but played some sparkling strokes once he had his eye in. KKR were finally bowled out for 125.

Earlier in the evening, KKR won the toss and elected to field. Lee struck first having the dangerous Watson (5) caught at short extra cover. Ajinkya Rahane hit two consecutive boundaries off Mohammad Shami, but RR struggled to find momentum and managed just 35 runs in the power play. Bhatia bowled Rahul Dravid (17) to give KKR their second wicket. Stuart Binny (14) followed soon after out leg before to Laxmi Shukla.

Rahane put his foot on the pedal hitting Mohammad Shami for a six, as Royals took 14 runs of his over, but KKR struck back with Sunil Narine striking twice. He first removed Rahane (36) caught behind before having Kevon Cooper stumped. Brad Hodge (46*) struck a few lusty blows to push forward Royals’ score. He found an ideal companion in Dishant Yagnik (16) who smashed a six and a boundary of Narine to score 18 runs of the 19th over. Trivedi (3 for 23) was given the nod over Cooper for Man-of-the-Match.

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