|| AFP ||
Kolkata Knight Riders crushed Rajasthan Royals by 86 runs on Thursday to take a firm grip on the fourth and final spot in the Indian Premier League playoffs.
Shubman Gill hit a 44 ball 56 as Kolkata stormed to 171 for four in Sharjah. Shivam Mavi then took four wickets for 21 off just 19 balls as Rajasthan collapsed to 85 all out in 16.1 overs.
Reigning champions Mumbai Indians could equal Kolkata's 14 points if they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad in their final league game on Friday.
But they would need a winning margin of 171 runs to clinch a playoff place with table toppers Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Gill and Venkatesh Iyer (38) put on 79 for the first wicket to put Kolkata on the road to an imposing score.
Rahul Tripathi, made 21 off 14 balls, while Dinesh Karthik (14) and Morgan (13) all scored quick runs in the death overs.
Mavi won the man-of-the-match award for ripping through the Rajasthan top order, claiming captain Sanju Sansom for one, Shivam Dube when he was starting to score on 18, Glenn Phillips for eight and top scorer Rahul Tewatia who hit two sixes and five fours in his 44.
New Zealand quick Lockie Ferguson took three for 18 from his four overs.
"It was a convincing performance," said Morgan whose side won three of their last five games to get into the top four.
"Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill have been the shining lights for us in the second half. I thought we were brilliant to take the opportunities," he added.
Morgan said he would probably play golf on Friday and not worry about Mumbai's game.
"When you are talking about run rate and qualifying you are in the lap of the gods," he declared.
Earlier, K.L. Rahul hit an unbeaten 98 to steer Punjab Kings to a convincing six-wicket win over Chennai in their final league match.
Punjab, who finished with 12 points, cruised to their target of 135 with seven overs to spare with captain Rahul smashing the winnings six in Dubai.
M.S. Dhoni's Chennai suffered their third straight defeat after they were the first team to enter the final four.
Punjab pace bowlers Arshdeep Singh and Chris Jordan took two wickets each to set up the win after they restricted Chennai to 134-6.
South Africa's Faf du Plessis hit a 55-ball 76 but the rest of the batting fell apart including England import Moeen Ali out for nought off Singh.
Rahul hit Australian fast bowler Josh Hazelwood for a six and two fours in the fourth over to set the tone for the chase.
"I had the license to go from ball one," said Rahul, who hit seven fours and eight sixes to top the IPL batting chart with 626 runs. "Today was one of those days where I could hit every ball."