Images from the Indian Premier League match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals, in Sharjah, on Thursday.
Kolkata Knight Riders produced a clinical performance to beat Rajasthan Royals by a massive 86-run margin and take a huge step towards securing a play-off berth in the Indian Premier League, in Sharjah, on Thursday.
With three play-off spots already sealed by Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Royals Challengers Bangalore, the Knight Riders consolidated their position for the fourth and final place, ending their round-robin engagements with 14 points from 14 games and an impressive net run-rate of 0.587.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians, with 12 points from 13 matches, is the only team still in contention, but they need to register a big win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last game on Friday to dislodge KKR from fourth spot.
For Mumbai Indians to go through, they must post a total in excess of 200 and win the match by a margin of 170-plus runs. They can't go past KKR's net-run rate if they chase.
Effectively, they need a miracle to make it!
Shubman Gill hit a second consecutive fifty as KKR registered the highest score at the venue this season, posting a competitive 171 for four after being put in to bat.
He and Venkatesh Iyer got KKR's innings to a rollicking start with a 79-run opening partnership.
Rahul Tripathi (21), Dinesh Karthik (14 not out off 11 balls) and skipper Eoin Morgan (13 not out off 11) also made good contributions to take KKR past the 170-run mark.
Rajasthan Royals had a horrible start in their chase, losing Yashasvi Jaiwal, their best batter of the season, to Shakib Al Hasan in the third ball of the innings
If that was not enough, skipper Sanju Samson departed to the first delivery of the next over.
Back into the side after recovering from an injury, Lockie Ferguson struck twice in his first over -- first removing Liam Livingstone and then accounting for young Anuj Rawat a ball later.
Shivam Mavi then struck twice in the eighth over -- disturbing the timbers of Glenn Phillips and Shivam Dube with his brute pace as the Royals kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy was not to be left behind. He joined the party in the next over, dismissing Chris Morris leg before wicket.
Rahul Tewatia took the attack to the opposition and struck Mavi for three boundaries as the Royals reached 49 for 7 in the 10th over.
With no pressure on his back, Tewatia continued his attacking display and clobbered Chakravarthy over deep square leg boundary for the first six of Rajasthan innings.
Tewatia played a 36-ball 44-run cameo but it was not enough as KKR shot out Rajasthan for a meagre 85.
Mavi finished with his best IPL figures of 4 for 21, while Ferguson (3-18) also shone bright with the ball.
Earlier, Shubman Gill hit a second consecutive fifty to put Kolkata Knight Riders high in the saddle.
The opener scored 56 off 44 balls and Venkatesh Iyer 38 off 35 after getting the KKR innings to a rollicking start in a 79-run opening stand.
Rahul Tripathi (21), Dinesh Karthik (14 not out off 11 balls) and skipper Eoin Morgan (13 not out off 11) also chipped in with good knocks to take the Knight Riders past the 170-run mark.
Young left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya was the pick of the Royals bowlers with figures of 1 for 23.
Riding on Gill and Iyer's impressive start, KKR raced to 50 in the eighth over.
Iyer, as is his wont went after the bolwers from the start. He first clobbered Jaydev Unadkat over the deep midwicket boundary and then hit straight over the bowler's head two deliveries later to accumulate 14 runs off the 10th over as KKR put up 75 without loss at the halfway mark.
Inspired by Iyer's power-hitting, Gill then joined the party and welcomed Rahul Tewatia with a maximum.
But Tewatia had the last laugh as he gave his side the important breakthrough when he went through the defences of Iyer. He got the ball to sneak through the left-hander legs as the batter went for an extravagant reverse sweep.
Rajasthan Royals then brought Glenn Phillips into the attack but the off-spinner went for 17 runs while dismissing Nitish Rana.
Rahul Tripathi was lucky to get a reprieve as he was dropped by Sanju Samson when he outside-edged a full delivery off Mustafizur Rahman off the last ball of the 13th over.
Tripathi cashed in on the chance and struck Shivam Dube for back-to-back boundaries in the next over.
Rana played a 5-ball 12-run cameo before Karthik and Morgan joined hands to end KKR's innings on a high.