Royals top table after beating Kolkata

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The Rajasthan Royals recorded their second victory in as many games in the IPL, beating the Kolkata Knight Riders by 19 runs on Monday to dent their title defence ambitions.

The Rajasthan Royals recorded their second victory in as many games in the IPL, beating the Kolkata Knight Riders by 19 runs on Monday to dent their title defence ambitions.

The Royals batted first and put up 144 for six thanks to a brisk 46 by Australia Brad Hodge. Kolkata then lost regular wickets during the chase, thanks to Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi, and were all out for 125 with an over to go.

The Royals' knock was hardly spectacular, continuing the trend of low scoring games so far this edition. Shane Watson, playing for the first time this campaign, could only record five runs before falling to countryman Brett Lee.

The top and middle order did a solid job, with skipper Rahul Dravid 17 to the 65 he made in the first match, and Ajinkya Rahane scoring 36 before being dismissed by Sunil Narine, who took two wickets.

Hodge was the anchor in the latter overs though, with his 46 coming off 31 balls and including seven boundaries. Wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik added 16 at the death.

Kolkata, featuring a superb batting line up featuring Jacques Kallis, Gautam Gambhir and Eoin Morgan, would have expected to chase the score, but Trivedi had other ideas and rattled the top order with three wickets.

Gambhir made 22, but it was Morgan who kept the chase alive, scoring a half century. He was out for 51 in the penultimate over, much like MS Dhoni for Chennai last week, thus ending the supposedly stronger side's challenge.

Cooper, who took three wickets in the first game, again came in at the death and cleaned up the tail, with Shami Ahmed the final wicket to tumble off the final ball of the 19th over.

The result left the Royals at the top of the table, while Kolkata languished in sixth place.

Rajasthan Royals: SR Watson, AM Rahane, R Dravid, STR Binny, BJ Hodge, DH Yagnik, K Cooper, SK Trivedi, SW Tait, S Sreesanth, R Shukla

Kolkata Knight Riders: G Gambhir, MS Bisla, JH Kallis, MK Tiwary, YK Pathan, EJG Morgan, LR Shukla, R Bhatia, B Lee, SP Narine, Shami Ahmed

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