Indian Premier League: Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Rajasthan Royals by 86 runs

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Shubman Gill (20), KKR's opener, reached his second half-century in this year’s IPL

Indian Premier League, Sharjah - Kolkata Knight Riders 171-4 (20 runs), Gill 56 (44), Iyer 37 (35); Sakariya 1-23 Rajasthan Royals 8 all out (16.1 runs): Tewatia 46 (36); Mavi 4-21, Ferguson 3-18 Kolkata Knight Riders won the match by 86 runs Scorecard Table

With a narrow 86-run victory over Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders almost confirmed their place in Indian Premier League playoffs.

Shubman Gill (56 vs 44) was the top scorer in the final group stage game. KKR scored 171-4.

Royals were unable to score 85, with Shivam Mavi scoring 4-21.

Mathematically, Mumbai Indians could still leapfrog KKR to fourth place. However, Sunrisers Hyderabad will have to win by a record 171 runs Friday.

The Royals finish the season in seventh and continue to wait for an IPL trophy in the second round - they won the inaugural competition in 2008.

After a watchful start, Kolkata goes big

KKR played a prudent start in what was arguably their most important match of the season. They reached 20-0 after four innings, 34-0 after powerplay, and 50-0 after eight.

Opener VenkateshIyer was allowed to have fun and launched Jaydev Unadkat into the air for two sixes in his ninth over.

After a patient start to his knock Iyer appeared to have his eye in, but he was quickly dismissed when he tried to reverse sweep Rahul Tewatia's leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia.

Gill displayed his shot repertoire, hitting four boundaries and two sixes before Chris Morris, the IPL’s most expensive signing, dismissed him.

Eoin Morgan, KKR's captain, was a terrible batsman in the competition. He came to the crease at 17.1 and went on to win unbeaten with 13 runs.

England's skipper, who finished the group stage with 124 runs in 14 matches, at an average 12.40 and strike rate of 102.47, showed glimpses of Morgan's vintage when he flicked six over square leg for the penultimate ball.

Livingstone fails, Royals crumble

Royals' reply was a disaster when opener Yashasvi jaiswal was bowled out by Shakib al Hasan.

This dismissal, which occurred on the third ball of the innings, ended the Royals' slim chances of reaching the play-offs based on net-run rate.

Royals had only pride at the time, but things didn't get any better.

Mavi dismissed Sanju Samson, the fifth-highest run-scorer in the competition (484 runs), to make it 1-2. Morgan took the catch.

It was soon 12-3, when Liam Livingstone cut a rising delivery from Lockie Fergusson (3-18) to his leg side. He was then caught for six.

Livingstone scored 42 runs for the Royals in five innings this year with a strike rate of 102.43

Livingstone went to the UAE last month in good form and this was the end of a disappointing IPL campaign.

The England batter, 28 years old, was the top-scorer in the inaugural men’s Hundred competition (348 runs). He also played for England against Pakistan earlier this summer but has struggled to score runs in IPL.

Royals fell to 35-7 in nine overs.

Royal Challengers Bangalore was at risk of breaking the unwelcome record for IPL history's lowest total - 49 against KKR in 2017.

Royals were saved by Tewatia, who bats at number seven. He scored 44 runs off 36 balls and cleared the rope five times.