Cooper’s bowling strengthens Royals
MOHALI, India - West Indies medium pacer Kevin Cooper delivered a masterful death bowling effort to help consolidate Rajasthan Royals' place in the top four, as they beat Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Thursday.
Cooper finished with three wickets for 23 runs from his four overs and was the primary architect of Kings XI's slow-down towards the end of their innings.
Royals coasted to victory at 147 for two after Punjab scored 145 for six.
Cooper’s measured slower deliveries exploited the slow nature of the Mohali surface, and swept away much of the momentum Shaun Marsh and Adam Gilchrist had secured in a 102-run stand.
Having arrived at the 14th over at 100 for 1, Kings XI could only stumble to 145 for 6 in their 20 overs and the batsmen failed to hit a boundary in the last four overs of their innings.
Cooper's first victim was Gilchrist, who batted securely for 42 from 32, until he offered him a return catch off an offcutter that took longer to arrive than he had anticipated.
Cooper returned in the 17th over, proving difficult to get away, and should have had Marsh out then, had Rahul Dravid held on to a catch running back from cover.
Cooper got both Marsh (77) and David Miller next over though, again off slower balls, as both men perished attempting heaves across the line.
Meantime, Sunil Narine grabbed two wickets as Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Pune Warriors by 46 runs to keep their slim play-off hopes alive.
The West Indies spinner picked up two wickets for 12 runs from his four overs as Knight Riders recorded their first victory on the road and consigned Pune to their eighth straight loss since their win over Chennai Super Kings last month.
Gautam Gambhir led the charge with a 44-ball 50 as Knight Riders scored 152 for six in 20 overs and bowled out Warriors for 106 in 19.3 overs.