Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik hit an unbeaten 35 off 29 balls as KKR romped home by 4 wickets against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Eden Garden on Sunday.
It was a very uncharacteristic innings as far as T20s are concerned, but what helped Karthik’s cause was the 19-ball 50 that Man of the Match Sunil Narine hit at the top of the innings as Kolkata started the chase of 177 in style.
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 in check.
Earlier, it was a good toss to win for Karthik as he sent RCB into 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, who turned out to have a golden arm as he first dismissed ABD (44) and then sent back Kohli (31) off successive balls to 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.
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.
Scores: RCB 176 for 7 in 20 overs (Brendon McCullum 43, Virat Kohli 31, AB de Villiers 44, Mandeep Singh 37, R. Vinay Kumar 2 for 30, Nitish Rana 2 for 11) lost to KKR 177 for 6 in 18.5 overs (Sunil Narine 50, Nitish Rana 34, Dinesh Karthik 35 n.o, Chris Woakes 3 for 36, Umesh yadav 2 for 27).