If Narine set the ball rolling, it was Karthik and Nitish Rana who ensured that Kolkata stayed right in the game despite losing some early wickets. Chasing 177 under lights can often get tricky if you lose wickets, but Karthik and Rana during their partnership of 55 for the fourth wicket ensured that they not just ran the hard singles, but also hit the timely boundaries to keep the required run-rate under check.
And the best part of the chase was the whirlwind 15 off 11 balls from Andre Russell. With 30 needed from 24 and skipper Virat Kohli handing the ball to Umesh Yadav — the best bowler on display till then for RCB — the game could have gone either ways. But Russell took the attack to the pacer and having given away just 12 runs in his first 3 overs for 2 wickets, Umesh conceded 15 in that over to bring Kolkata right back into the game.
Even though Chris Woakes dismissed Russell in the very next over, the damage had already been done and it was finally Vinay Kumar who hit a boundary off Kulwant Khejroliya to take KKR home with 7 balls to spare.
Earlier, it was a good toss to win for Karthik as he sent RCB in to bat. And the start wasn’t that good for the visitors as they lost Quinton de Kock (4) in the second over of the day to Piyush Chawla. But skipper Kohli and old warhorse Brendon McCullum combined beautifully as they mixed caution and aggression to bring up 45 runs for the second wicket. But just when it looked like RCB would run away with the game, Narine struck to disturb McCullum’s (43) timber.
What followed was another master-class from Kohli and AB de Villiers. While Kohli was more keen to run the singles and rotate the strike, ABD got stuck into the Kolkata bowlers time and again. In fact, he took special liking for Kuldeep first, scoring 16 off the 10th over, and then followed that up with a 10-run over off Mitchell Johnson.
The Kolkata outfit clearly had no ideas on how to get the better of the two as they had already put on 64 runs. But Karthik decided to take a chance and handed the ball to part-timer Rana. And the man turned out to have a golden arm as he first dismissed ABD (44) and then sent back Kohli (31) off successive balls to completely derail the RCB innings.
Having two new batsmen in Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh in the death overs — 15th of the innings — didn’t really help RCB’s cause as they further slowed down the run-rate. In fact, Sarfaraz getting out in the 19th over seemed to get the dug-out to breathe a sigh of relief.
Mandeep did try his best to finish with a flourish as he scored 16 runs off the first three balls to take RCB to a challenging 176/7. But in the end, it turned out a little too less on an Eden wicket which eased out further as the game progressed.
AB de Villiersbrendon mccullumdinesh karthikIndian Premier LeagueiplIPL 2018KKR vs RCBKolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers BangaloreNitish RanaRCB vs KKRSunil Narinevirat kohli
First Published: April 9, 2018, 12:01 AM IST