Kolkata, April 20: Royal Challengers Bangalore eked out a 10-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders for only their second success of the season after Andre Russell and Nitish Rana nearly pulled off the impossible in the Indian Premier League here on Friday night (April 19).
Needing 113 runs off the last six overs, Russell (65 off 25 balls) and Rana (85 not out off 46) almost got their team over the line but Moeen Ali managed to defend 24 in the final over. The tense climax came after Virat Kohli smashed 100 off 58 ball for his fifth century in the IPL and first this season. RCB hammered 91 runs off the last five overs to reach 213 for four, their highest total this year.
Ali's 66 off 28 while batting alongside Kohli also proved crucial for RCB's cause as they finally managed to protect their total. The win keeps RCB mathematically alive in the tournament while KKR suffered their fourth loss in as many games.
Following the Kohli special, it was the turn of pace ace Dale Steyn to land some body blows on the opposition. Playing his first game of the season after having come in as a replacement, the South African great removed Chris Lynn and Shubman Gill to leave KKR reeling at 33 for three in five overs.
Russell tried his best to pull off another improbable chase for KKR in the company of Rana, hitting sixes almost at will. The RCB bowlers looked clueless to stem the flow of runs but the magnitude of the chase proved too much even for the powerful West Indian, as he was run out in the final over.
Earlier, it was Ali who gave the much needed oxygen to the RCB innings, smashing six sixes and five fours to seize the momentum after a slow start. Kohli and Ali shared 90 runs off 43 balls and there was no looking back after Ali's assault.
The match swung in the 16th over when Kuldeep Yadav bled 27 runs with Ali going berserk, smashing the star India spinner for three sixes and two boundaries. The chinaman ended with figures of 1/59 in four overs.
Kohli, who scored his first 50 off 40 balls, changed gears in the second half of his innings. Such was his domination that Kohli took just 17 balls for his second fifty. Put in, RCB got off to an ordinary start and the absence of AB de Villiers, who was ruled out due to dehydration, was felt very much.
Kohli mistimed the ball with a couple of inside-edges to the boundary, while his left-handed opening parter Parthiv Patel (11 off 11) had a hit-and-miss stay before falling to Sunil Narine inside the powerplay.
In the middle of all this, RCB sent in Akshdeep Nath (13 off 15) at number three keeping the in-form Ali in waiting. RCB made only 42 in the powerplay but with Ali and Kohli firing, it didn't hurt them ultimately.