Skipper Gautam Gambhir hit a strokeful half-century while Lakshamipathy Balaji returned with a four-wicket haul as Kolkata Knight Riders brought their campaign back on track with a 42-run victory over Bangalore Royals Challengers here today.
Sent into bat, the Knight Riders posted a challenging 165 for eight in their stipulated 20 overs, thanks to some brilliant batting by the skipper, who struck a strokeful 64 in just 39 balls.
Balaji then scalped four wickets giving away just 18 runs and Jacques Kallis accounted for two more as the visitors returned to restrict the Challengers to 123 for nine at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
With this victory, Kolkata snapped their two-match losing streak in the fifth IPL, where they had lost to Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals in their last two encounters respectively.
The Kolkata Knight Riders celebrate the fall of Chris Gayle's wicket. Pic/AFP
The Royals Challengers had a disastrous start to their chase, losing four of their top batsman for just 25 runs with pacers Kallis and Balaji claiming two wickets each.
Kallis started the proceeding in the second over, sending back opener Cheteshwar Pujara (6) who was caught at slip while trying to steer the ball towards third man.
The South African all-rounder then scalped the prized wicket of Chris Gayle (2) in his next over. Trying to pull a short delivery from Kallis over midwicket, Gayle ended up top-edging the ball to Laxmi Shukla at mid-on.
Balaji then got into the act and dismissed Virat Kohli (6) in the sixth over to leave the hosts tottering at 20 for three. Kohli miscued a short and ended up giving a catch to Manoj Tiwari at point.
Nine balls later, the Tamil Nadu pacer cleaned up AB de Villiers (10) and then dismissed Mayank Agarwal (5) in his next over as RCB were looked down the barrel at 33 for five.
Skipper Daniel Vettori (20) then joined Sourabh Tiwary (18) but the New Zealander also couldn't stay longer and was sent packing by Balaji in the 12th over. Balaji disturbed Vettori's off-stump with a slow length delivery to claim his fourth victim.
Dutch Ryan ten Doeschate then claimed the wicket of Tiwary in the 15th over.
R Vinay Kumar (25 not out), HV Patel (10) and Zaheer Khan (not out 11) then tried their bit but it was too little in the end.
Earlier, Gambhir led from the front as he anchored KKR to their highest total of the tournament in the match which was delayed by 20 minutes due to short circuit at the advertisement hoardings at the ground.
Gambhir blasted nine fours and one six during his innings. He shared 60 runs for the opening wicket with Kallis (22) before adding another 65-run stand for the second wicket with Manvinder Bisla (46 off 29 balls; 2x4; 3x6).
KKR were off to a flying start with openers Gambhir and Kallis posting 50 in 5.1 overs.
At the start, Kallis struggled to get going against Zaheer Khan in the very first over, but managed to tuck one to vacant fine leg boundary.
In the second over, KKR accumulated eight runs with Gambhir dispatching Vinay Kumar for four.
In the eventful third over, Kallis first clipped off his pads to square leg fence and drove through mid off for boundaries off Zaheer's bowling.
It was now the turn of Gambhir to plunder 15 runs in Harshal Patel's first over. He smashed two boundaries and a six taking the score 35 for no loss.
Gambhir then showed little respect of Zaheer smashing him two consecutive boundaries, one through mid off and long leg fence.
RCB captain Daniel Vettori then introduced Muttaiah Muralitharan, who picked up three crucial wickets in his last game against Delhi Daredevils, but he was also shown scant respect by Kallis and Gambhir.
Kallis welcomed the wily Sri Lankan great with a six over deep square leg fence.
Vettori brought himself in the seventh over and sent back Kallis, caught by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers. Kallis got a thick outside edge looking to cut when the score was 60.
Gambhir reached his half century in the last ball of 13th over off Vinay Kumar.
In a surprise move, Virat Kohli was brought in to bowl in the eighth over, but he gave away 13 runs in his first over after Manvinder Bisla, promoted to number three, lifted him for a six and then for a four.
Bisla, who continued from where Kallis had left, pressed the foot on the accelerator and sliced Vettori for a boundary in the next over.
Bisla plundered 11 runs hitting one over the fence for six to Vettori in his third over.
RCB struck back with quick wickets from the 14th over. Yusuf Pathan was dismissed by Vinay Kumar for one (3 balls) after Bisla fell to Muralitharan. Zaheer, who scalped his fifth IPL wicket, ran in fast and removed well-set Gambhir and Tiwary for two off five balls in the 17th over.
Muralitharan then claimed Ryan ten Doeschate, caught by Vettori at short fine leg for three in the 18th over. Vinay Kumar then sent back Shakib Al Hasan in the 19th over for four when he was caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at long off.
Harshal Patel then removed Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the last KKR wicket to fall, before Brett Lee smashed a six off the bowler in the final over.