Kolkata, April 8: An early Sunil Narine blitz and a well-paced knock by Dinesh Karthik guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a four-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) clash at the Eden Gardens on Sunday (April 8).
Narine (50 off 19), who opens the innings now, provided the start that KKR needed in their chase of 177 after electing to bowl. Kolkata skipper Karthik (35 n.o off 29) was there until the end as Vinay Kumar saw KKR past RCB's 176/7 with seven balls to spare.
Despite a good effort by Umesh Yadav, who restricted the Kolkata run-rate, the other Royal Challengers' bowlers proved ineffective.
Narine was dominating from the start. He padded his innings with four boundaries and five sixes as Kolkata made 68 runs in the powerplay. He was almost caught at the deep by Mandeep Singh at 43, but after holding on to the ball, Mandeep Singh's hand fell over the ropes to help the West Indies star to a six.
Narine reached his fifty in just 17 balls after hitting 17 (two sixes and a four) off Washington Sundar's fifth over. Narine previously scored a fifty against RCB in just 15 deliveries last year. But he couldn't convert the fifty into a bigger score after gifting away his wicket to Umesh Yadav the next over. Left-hander Narine gave space for himself and sensing that, Umesh bowled outside the off. Narine stretched to make contact but got a thick inside edge, which kissed the off stump. Umesh also prized Robin Uthappa (13) to throw open the chase.
Nitish Rana (34 off 25), who claimed 2/11 with the ball, continued the battle in the sluggish middle overs. Umesh maintained an envious economy of 4 in his first three overs while grabbing two wickets as well.
Karthik and Rana saw Kolkata through the slow middle overs. After Rana's departure, Andre Russell scored a couple of big shots before Karthik finished it off on a high for the hosts.
Earlier, backed by opener Brendon McCullum's 43 off 27, RCB posted 176/7. No 4 batsman AB de Villiers (44 off 23) warmed up for the rest of the IPL nicely with Mandeep (37 off 18) carrying them through. RCB could have made a lot more if not for Nitish Rana, who took two wickets in one over.
Left-handed opener Quinton de Kock departed in the second over but McCullum remained to hit six boundaries and two sixes.
Virat Kohli (31 off 33) struggled to be his aggressive best against a tight KKR bowling attack. Kohli was a mere spectator during the 45-run partnership with New Zealander McCullum for the second wicket.
McCullum departed when he failed to judge the bounce and the pace of a short ball by Narine, which went past the right-hander to strike the middle and off stump.
That dismissal probably awakened the captain in Kohli, who with de Villiers, stitched 64 runs in 36 balls.
De Villiers was quick off the blocks and hit left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav for two sixes in the 10th over. The South African reviewed a caught-behind appeal in the 12th over off Mitchell Johnson and went on to punish KKR. De Villiers rocked back and pulled the very next ball for a boundary, which brought up the 100 for RCB. He went on to strike five sixes and one boundary during his stint.
De Villiers looked set for a big knock until KKR skipper Karthik brought on part-time off-spinner Rana in the 15th over. Rana was hit for a six in the first ball of the over but de Villiers then miscued the next shot to Johnson at deep midwicket. Kohli was bowled the very next delivery.
Andre Russell, coping with a hamstring injury, conceded just 10 runs in two overs and brought down the RCB run rate. From 8.80 at the end of the 15th over, it dropped to 8.42 in 19 overs.
Mandeep Singh (37 off 17) took time to settle down but stretched RCB's total, thanks to a last-over blitz off Vinay Kumar (2/30). He scored 16 runs in the first three balls before falling in the penultimate ball of the RCB innings.