Virat Kohli struck a masterly hundred to put Nitish Rana and Andre Russell’s magnificent fightback in a shade as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 10 runs in a thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Eden Gardens here yesterday.
In desperate need of a win to keep their slim playoff chances alive, Kohli took 58 balls to bring up his fifth ton of the IPL and first this season with the help of nine fours and four sixes after Moeen Ali gave the much-needed oxygen to their innings with a whirlwind 28-ball 66 (4x5, 6x6).
This was Kohli’s first hundred since 2016 when he had dragged the team out of a hole with four centuries in a record-shattering performance which yielded 973 runs from 16 matches as RCB finished as runners-up.
Kohli and Ali added 90 runs for the third wicket off just 43 balls as RCB posted 213 for 4 after being only 70 for 2 at the halfway stage.
Chasing a stiff 214 for victory, Rana (79 off 45 not out; 9x4, 4x6) and Russell (65 off 25 balls; 2x4; 9x6) stitched together a 118-run partnership off 48 balls to take the match till the last over.
Ali was handed the final over with 24 needed. Rana could manage just one run off the first two balls but brought back Russell to the strike. The West Indies allrounder then smashed a six but was run out in the penultimate ball to end KKR’s hopes. Rana hit a six in the last ball but it was too late.
KKR were reduced to 79 for 4 with comeback man Dale Steyn — playing for RCB after nine years — accounting for Chris Lynn (1) and Shubman Gill (9). Navdeep Saini removed Sunil Narine (18) while Robin Uthappa (9) got out to Marcus Stoinis.
Russell, braving a shoulder injury, then kept KKR in the game with Rana also giving him able company as KKR posted 203 for 5 in 20 overs.
The pair took the likes of Steyn (2 for 40), Saini (1 for 31) and Yuzvendra Chahal (0/45) to the cleaners but in the end, fell just short.
The result saw rock-bottom RCB move to four points from nine matches while KKR slumped to their fourth successive defeat to further dent their playoff chances.
Put into bat, Kohli paced his innings to perfection, and got out on the last ball of the innings off Harry Gurney.
The India skipper, facing flak for his captaincy and the team’s woeful performance, took 40 balls to reach his first 50 to then change gears and score the next 50 off just 17 deliveries.
The match swung in the 16th over when Kuldeep Yadav bled 27 runs with Ali going berserk, smashing the star India leggie for three sixes and two boundaries. The chinaman ended with figures of 1 for 59 in four overs. In the last five overs, RCB scored 91 runs to record their highest total of the season.
BRIEF SCORES: Royal Challengers Bangalore: 213 for 4 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 100, Moeen Ali 66; Andre Russell 1 for 17) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 203 for 5 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 85 not out, Andre Russell 65; Dale Steyn 2 for 40) by 10 runs.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Harbaoui shines with a brace in Al Arabi’s win over Al Ahli
Australia on brink of retaining Ashes after England’s woeful 67 all out
Serena to take on Sharapova in first round of US Open
India’s Sindhu, Praneeth assured of medals
Barty heads to New York to do some damage
Thomas shares Tour lead despite low-key start
Warholm races to break hurdles world record
Cheika names Pocock, uncapped Petaia in WC squad
Capitals’ Kuznetsov given four-year international ban