IPL 2018: Virat Kohli's RCB can't stop KKR from making winning start
Kolkata Knight Riders, beginning a new chapter, took a page from last year to tame Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets at the Eden Gardens yesterday
KKR's Dinesh Karthik during his unbeaten 35 yesterday. Pic/AFP
New team, but still good for the old formula. Kolkata Knight Riders, beginning a new chapter, took a page from last year to tame Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets at the Eden Gardens yesterday at IPL 2018. Chasing 177, the Knights finished with seven deliveries to spare.
Sunil Narine, whose mystery deliveries have foxed batsmen over the years and had proved a match-winning pinch-hitter last year, played another blinder as an opener to provide the platform for the chase. The West Indian, who saw his fastest fifty record being bettered by KL Rahul in Mohali earlier in the day, completed another in just 17 balls before dragging one onto his stumps a couple of deliveries later.
The powerplay yielded 68 runs and the momentum helped keep KKR in the hunt. Nitish Rana (34 off 25) and Dinesh Karthik (35 not out off 29) added 55 for the fourth wicket to ensure Narine's efforts were not in vain. Karthik, taking over the KKR helm from Gautam Gambhir, had won a good toss, but RCB's power hitters came to the party on an up-and-down outing for the Knights in the field.
The experienced Vinay Kumar, entrusted with setting the tone, was all over the place in the opening over as Brendon McCullum took 14 off it. The enthusiastic Karnataka pacer, 34, would come back to deliver the final over of the innings and concede another 16 runs. Mitchell Johnson, KKR's pace spearhead, too found it difficult to contain the marauding batsmen, and Karthik had to repeatedly turn to spinners Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav and Narine to try and stem the rot.
McCullum (43 off 27) and Kohli (31 off 33) added 45 in 40 deliveries but it was the partnership between the RCB skipper and AB de Villiers (44 off 23) that threatened to shut out KKR from the contest.
With Karthik having used up much of his main bowling options, it was the innocuous off-spin of Rana that quelled the storm. De Villiers hit the first ball from Rana for a six, but fell trying to repeat the act. Kohli fell in the next ball, yorked as he tried to sustain the momentum.
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