Royals reach play-offs after Watson ton


A timely century from skipper Shane Watson saw the Rajasthan Royals have enough runs on the board to beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by nine runs on Saturday, effectively knocking the defending IPL champions out of the tournament.

The match was a knock out for the most part, with the winner advancing to the play-offs while the loser was all but doomed to an early exit. As such, Watson's 104 not out saw Kolkata need 200 to win, and they fell short.

Watson won the toss an opted to bat first, and he and Ajinkya Rahane got off to a flying start, putting on 80 runs for the first wicket in seven overs. Rahane made 37 of those before being run out by Shakib-al-Hasan.

Watson did the bulk of the damage from then on out, as Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, James Faulkner, Karun Nair and Chris Morris all fell for scores under 20, only two of them reaching double figures.

Watson used up 59 balls for his score, taking the bulk of the strike and hitting five sixes and nine fours. Andre Russell was the pick of the KKR bowlers, bagging three of the six wickets to fall.

Kolkata's chase was hampered by Gautam Gambhir going out in the first over for one, while Robin Uthappa made 14. Manish Pandey added 21 before also falling to Dhawal Kulkarni, who had removed Uthappa.

A strong partnership between Yusuf Pathan and Russell revived the effort, as they took the score to 132 in the 14th over, but they fell in quick sucession. Morris, who ended up with four scalps, removed Russell and with the next ball Suryakumar Yadav.

The final over saw 16 runs required as Shakib tried his hardest, but he fell to Morris first ball, leaving Umesh Yadav and Morne Morkel to try to get the remaining runs, but Morris stood firmly in their way.