IPL 2022: McCullum praises his players after KKR end five-match losing streak

Kolkata Knight Riders beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets on Monday

Nitish Rana of the Kolkata Knight Riders plays a shot. (BCCI)
Nitish Rana of the Kolkata Knight Riders plays a shot. (BCCI)


Published: Mon 2 May 2022, 11:41 PM

Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh combined for an unbeaten 66 to lead Kolkata Knight Riders as they chased down Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in the Indian Premier League on Monday.

The seven-wicket win ended Kolkata’s miserable run of five straight losses in the tournament.

Rana was 48 not out off 37 balls and Singh made 42 not out off 23 balls for Kolkata to reach 158-3 with five balls to spare in reply to Rajasthan’s 152-5.

Kolkata moved to just outside the top four, while Rajasthan’s second straight defeat kept it at third on the table. “Five losses on the bounce is no easy feat to pull yourselves out of. I just have to compliment all the guys within the group,” KKR coach Brendon McCullum said.

“I know it’s the first year for all the guys in this team but the guys have stuck really close and we could have easily been on the other side of two or three of those games.

Chasing 153, Kolkata did not get off to a good start. Openers Aaron Finch (4) and Baba Indrajith (15) went cheaply to leave the team 32-2.

Rana added 60 runs off 43 balls with skipper Shreyas Iyer to steady the innings. Iyer scored 34 off 32, including three fours and a six, before falling to Trent Boult.

Rana carried on to the end with Singh, finishing with three fours and two sixes. Singh hit six fours and a six in their 38-ball partnership. McCullum was all praise for Singh.

“He’s an amazing story. He’s been around the franchise now for a long period of time. Before the first game that he played, I was lucky enough to spend a little bit of time with him. He knew for his own self-worth and his own career, he needed to make a statement in this competition. He was able to do it in the first game,” McCullum said.

“He’s such a great team man, a wonderful human being and the real vibe and culture of the group is set by Rinku.”

Earlier, Rajasthan opener Jos Buttler suffered a rare failure when he was out for 22 off 25 balls to Tim Southee, and the team were 55-2 in 8.3 overs.

Skipper Sanju Samson stemmed the trouble with his second half-century of this IPL, 54 off 49 balls.

Samson put on 48 with Buttler and 35 with Karun Nair. But the Royals’ innings never generated any real momentum.

Samson’s dismissal in the 18th over proved to be the turning point.

Shimron Hetmyer lashed an unbeaten 27 from 13 balls, including two sixes, but Rajasthan finished with a below-par score.

“They bowled well on a slow wicket,” Samson said. “With the kind of batting we have, we would have liked a few more boundaries at the end. We were short by 15-20 runs. We fought well with the ball, but we should have batted better.”

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