Sharjah: Riding on one of the greatest catches of this IPL season and superb bowling at the death, Kolkata Knight Riders staged a dramatic fightback to pull off a two-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in a thrilling last-ball finish at the Indian Premier League here today.
Chasing 151, RCB fell short after an airborne Chris Lynn, who had earlier smashed a 31-ball 45, stretched his body backwards at the deep midwicket fence to pull off a blinder and send back dangerman A B de Villiers.
Needing nine off the last over, RCB could manage only seven, thanks largely to R Vinay Kumar's superb bowling besides Lynn's catch.
Kolkata Knight Riders celebrates the win for KKR during their IPL 7 match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah on Thursday. PTI Photo/BCCI
Chasing on a good batting surface, Bangalore were off to a blazing start with Yogesh Takawale (40) and Parthiv Patel (21) dealing in boundaries.
Takawale was the more aggressive of the two as he launched into a flurry of boundaries, picking KKR pace spearhead Morne Morkel for special treatment. Of his eight boundaries, six came when the 29-year-old Takawale was up against Morkel, helping his side reach 50 in just 37 balls.
In between, hoping for a breakthrough, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir handed over the ball to Sunil Narine, but took him off after a very economical first over, preferring to keep his most important bowler for the latter overs.
However, after settling in nicely, Takawale was trapped in front of the wicket by Jacques Kallis. He needed just 28 balls to score his runs.
Captain Virat Kohli (31) walked in but even before he could get his eye in, Patel was making his way back to the dressing room, as his leading edge popped up for Lynn at cover.
This brought Yuvraj Singh (31) into the middle and the two experienced players went about the task in a calculated manner.
At the halfway stage of their innings, RCB needed 64 runs with eight wickets in hand.
Yuvraj brought the equation down by a few runs after he clobbered Umesh Yadav for a six into the midwicket stands.
A single was taken before Kohli whacked the bowler over the midwicket region. Kohli then hit Kallis for two exquisite back-to-back cover drives with sheer timing and placements.
Yuvraj helped himself to a boundary to deep squareleg, before Kohli smashed Narine's full toss midwicket.
But Lynn's great catch made sure that RCB couldn't score a hat-trick of wins.
Earlier, Kolkata recovered to score 150 for seven after Varun Aaron's three-wicket burst.
RCB's Aaron finished with impressive figures of 3/16, while Chris Lynn (45) and Jacques Kallis (43) were the major contributors with the bat for KKR.
Sent into bat, Kolkata were off to another disastrous start, losing skipper Gautam Gambhir for duck for the third straight time in the ongoing seventh edition of the cash-rich event.
Chris Lynn of the Kolkata Knight Riders plays a shot during their IPL 7 match against match Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah on Thursday. PTI Photo/BCCI
An 80-run second-wicket partnership between Kallis and Lynn ensued, before three quick wickets pegged the former champions back.
Robin Uthappa (22) boosted KKR's run rate with a couple of sixes, but could not last till the end.
It was then left to Suryakumar Yadav (24 not out) to take KKR to a decent total.
The only difference with Gambhir's dismissal this time around was that he was out for a golden duck, trapped in front of the wicket by a fast and full Mitchell Starc delivery off the third ball of the innings.
Albie Morkel struck in the next over as Manish Pandey's leading edge was easily taken by Kohli at point, leaving KKR struggling at 10 for two in the second over. When
the 24-year-old Lynn walked into bat, KKR were in a spot of bother, but that did not show in the manner the Aussie straightaway went about his task.
RCB's move to introduce Muttiah Muralitharan into the attack in the seventh over backfired, as the Sri Lankan veteran was smashed for two sixes by Lynn in his first over.
Kallis swept Muralitharan over deep square leg after Lynn whacked Yuzvendra Chahal for a maximum over deep midwicket, where Starc completed the catch only to touch the ropes.
The association was brought to an end after Aaron's re-introduction.
With the spinners going for runs, bringing back the pacer proved to be a successful move. Lynn's flat-batted hit failed to clear AB de Villiers at long-off.
Lynn struck three sixes and as many fours in his 31-ball knock at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Next man-in Yusuf Pathan lacked discretion, evidenced by his irresponsible shot off only the second ball he had faced. The result was a simple catch for Kohli at mid-off, the successful bowler being Aaron.
Having used quite a few deliveries, Kallis fell while going for a biggie against Chahal.
Kolkata Knight Riders
J Kallis c Takawale b Chahal 43
G Gambhir lbw b Starc 0
M Pandey c Kohli b Morkel 5
C Lynn c de Villiers b Aaron 45
Y Pathan c Kohli b Aaron 0
R Uthappa c Starc b Aaron 22
S Yadav not out 24
R Vinay Kumar c Morkel
b Starc 4
Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 4) 7
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) . . . 150
Fall of wickets 1-1, 2-10,
3-90, 4-90, 5-107, 6-129, 7-150
Royal Challengers Bangalore
P Patel c Lynn b Vinay Kumar 21
Y Takawale lbw b Kallis 40
V Kohli b Narine 31 Y Singh c Pathan b U Yadav 31
AB de Villiers c Lynn
b Vinay Kumar 11
A Morkel not out 6
M Starc not out 0
Extras (lb 5, w 2, nb 1) 8
Total (5 wickets; 20 overs) . . . . . . 148
Fall of wickets 1-67, 2-67, 3-122, 4-141, 5-145
Yadav 4-0-40-1 Morkel 4-0-34-0
Vinay Kumar 4-0-26-2