Royal Challengers Bangalore pulled off a thrilling 10-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Friday. However, RCB’s second success of the season did not come easy as Andre Russell and Nitish Rana took their team close to an improbable target of 214 in 20 overs. Needing 113 runs off the last six overs, Russell (65 off 25 balls) and Rana (85 not out off 46 balls) almost got their team over the line but Moeen Ali managed to defend 24 in the final over.
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First innings: Put in to bat, RCB got off to a cautious start as batting was not easy early on. Parthiv Patel fell early to Sunil Narine but it was Moeen Ali who stood up on the day and gave the much-needed impetus to RCB’s innings after a slow start. Ali was particularly lethal on Kuldeep Yadav whom he smashed for 27 runs in the 16th over. Along with his skipper, Ali forged a 90 run-stand off 43 balls.
Kohli, who scored his first 50 off 40 balls, upped the ante in the second half of his innings and reached his fifth IPL hundred in 58 balls as RCB posted 213/4.
Second innings: Chasing 214 was always going to be difficult and that was made tougher when Dale Steyn struck early blows. Playing his first game of the season Steyn bagged the wickets of Chris Lynn and Shubman Gill to leave KKR reeling at 33/3 inside the powerplay. Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa steadied the ship thereafter. But it was Andre Russell’s arrival at the crease which turned the game on its head. Rusell tried his best to pull off another improbable chase along with Rana but this time it wasn’t a bit too much to chase down.
Gamechanger: Moeen Ali’s quickfire knock of 65 from 24 balls was the gamechanger. At that point, RCB were not really in a good position as they had got off to a slow start. But Ali’s cameo laid the platform for a total above 200 which ultimately proved to be a winning score.
Virat Kohli: “Felt really good after what happened last year. Was important to have a win under our belt. There’s no point in panicking in these types of situations, you got to leave it to the bowlers to decide what he wants to do. Few good decisions by Stoinis and then Moeen in the end.”
Dinesh Karthik: “I think the way Moeen batted, he took the game away from us. He played a few good shots and credit to him. I thought they were 20-25 runs too many and that’s what happens when a player like Virat plays. It was a brilliant knock from him. The ball was seaming a little, and the new ball had a bit in it and it wasn’t easy for stroke-making. If I had to look back, it was 20 runs too many.”
Scorecard: 213/4 in 20 overs (Kohli 100, Ali 66; Narine 1/32). KKR 203/5 in 20 overs (Russell 65, Rana 85 not out; Steyn 2/40).
(With inputs from PTI)