Kolkata Knightriders fans would have learnt to take it easy when KKR play at home. The pitch suits them. If they score low they can defend it and when required they can mockery of any total with their firepower. More often than not, the KKR fans go home smiling when their team plays in Kolkata. No one told this to the rejuvenated Royal Challengers of Bangalore.
They came, they hit all over and they conquered. RCB is looking the most deadly team right now with all its guns blazing.
RCB won the toss on a good batting pitch and elected to field. With RCB at the other end, no total is a winning total but given the strength of the Kolkata bowling, they would have backed themselves to defend anything over 160. They got 183.
KKR played in bits and pieces with Gambhir and Manish Pandey playing a steady hand with brisk fifties as other batsmen failed. In the end, Andre Russel hit some lusty blows to take KKR to 183 for 5 in their 20 overs. Skipper Gambhir scored 51 off 34 balls and Manish Pandey made 50 off 35 as they stitched together a partnership of 76 runs in quick time. KKR lost 4 quick wickets in next few overs to push them back. It was Russel’s hitting that got them to a once impossible looking score of 183. Russel was not out on 39 off 19 balls with 3 maximums.
Chasing 184 is never easy and and if it is Gautam Gambhir’s men at the other end it gets even more difficult.
Kohli and Devilliers have been in tremendous form but Gayle was missing the action but that is history as the Gayle storm hit Kolkata just at the right moment. Opening with Kohli, Gayle swept KKR bowlers off their feet from the very start of the innings to score a fiery 49 from 31 balls including 4 Gayle specials.
But as he was dismissed with the team score on 71, KKR would have thought of pulling it back. But if the arriving batsman is AB Devilliers, the thought is more of a passing affair. KKR did not get any more chance to celebrate as Kohli and Devilliers went about their business continued from their last match. The innings did not throw up any surprises as Devilliers and Kohli got that usual 100 run partnership and hit boundaries as they keep doing always. Devilliers went unbeaten at 59 off a meagre 31 balls while Kohli finished 75 not out from 51 balls to take RCB home with 9 wickets and 8 balls to spare.
Kohli with this innings also broke the record for most individual runs in a single IPL season with 752 runs now. Previous record was with teammate Chris Gayle of 733 runs.
This win for RCB is as convincing as it can get. RCB batsmen are instilling fear in other teams now as they go on rampage. The way they are playing they have a realistic chance to qualify with 2 wins required from remaining 2 matches. KKR`s wait got delayed as they need to win 1 more match to qualify for the playoffs.