KOLKATA, APR 09,
Kolkata Knight Riders downed Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets with seven balls to spare as Dinesh Karthik made a perfect debut as the host’s captain here at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. Karthik himself made an unbeaten 35 after Sunil Narine, sent in as an opener, thrashed the visitors out of contention with a belligerent 19-ball 50.
Put in to bat, RCB reached a challenging 176 for seven which proved inadequate eventually.
Sunil Narine, who seems to be somewhat losing the ‘magic’ of his off-spin variations after having been constantly reported for suspect action, redeemed himself in the role of a pinch-hitter.
In his brief stay in the middle Narine slammed five sixes and four boundaries to ensure that KKR picked up the bulk of the runs in the PowerPlay period itself.
Narine perished in the sixth over without adding a run to his half-century, but he had set KKR on the path to victory. Nitish Rana, the new name in the Knight Riders’ roster, scored a stroke-filled 34 in a 55-run partnership with Karthik for the fourth wicket to take the score close to the target.
Earlier, Royal Challengers’ batting sparkled but failed to explode, thanks to a clever change in the bowling made by Karthik who brought in part-timer Rana just when the visitors were on course to a huge total.
A.B. de Villiers was in his element. The flurry of sixes from him, with his trademark aggression, was snapped by Rana. After despatching the first ball of Rana’s over beyond the mid-wicket boundary, de Villiers again sought to launch himself in a big way. But the star batsman only succeeded in top-edging on the leg side and Mitchell Johnson had no difficulty in pouching the catch in the deep.
This came as a relief for Johnson who saw his caught-behind decision against de Villiers in the 12th over reversed on referral. The South African was then on 23.
What followed was dream-like for Rana. Off the next ball, he cleaned up the RCB skipper Kohli with a yorker. The double strike put a spoke into a promising innings and sent Royal Challengers on the backfoot. Rana completed the over with the figures of two for 11.
Brendon McCullum gave the innings a fine start, scoring 27 off 43 balls that included six boundaries and a couple of sixes. The other opener Quinton de Kock could not get going.
After McCullum’s departure, the Kohli-de Villiers pair strung together a 64-run partnership in six overs.
Mandeep Singh came up with a quickfire 37 (18b, 4×4, 2×6) to help RCB post a challenging total.
KOLKATA, APR 09,