Royal Challengers Bangalore slump to fifth straight loss after Russell blitz
Andre Russell muscled 7 sixes in his 13-ball unbeaten 48 as Kolkata Knight Riders chased down 206 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium to defeat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 5 wickets. RCB have now lost all their 5 matches in the 2019 Indian Premier League while KKR raced away to their 3rd win in 4 matches.
KKR needed 53 off the last 3 overs and 30 off the last 2 overs with 5 wickets in hand but Andre Russell's blistering knock left RCB shell-shocked in their home ground.
Earlier in the evening, Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Dinesh Karthik won the toss and asked Royal Challengers Bangalore to bat. RCB were under pressure after losing their first four matches this season but Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel came out all guns blazing and added 64 for the opening wicket off 7.5 overs. Parthiv fell to part-time off-spinner Nitish Rana and that paved the way for a 108-run stand between Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The two were destructive after being bogged down shortly by KKR's spinners.
Virat Kohli, who had enjoyed a sensational season in 2016, had looked out of sorts in 2017. He scored 530 runs last year but his efforts were not enough as RCB managed only a 6th spot finish. This summer, Kohli had failed to score a fifty in four attempts but reserved his best for the Knight Riders who boast of a potent bowling attack. When he reached 17, Virat Kohli became the second Indian after Suresh Raina to reach 8000 T20 runs. However, there was more to come from Kohli's blade. He stormed his way to his 35th IPL fifty and accelerated further - he looked well set for his 5th hundred in the IPL.
On the other hand, AB de Villiers was sending fear down the chill of the KKR attack. After Kohli's frenetic start, de Villiers was sending KKR's bowlers on a leather chase around the Chinnaswamy. Before KKR knew what hit them, de Villiers brought up his 50 and RCB were on course for a huge score six days after being at the receiving end of an onslaught from Jonny Bairstow and David Warner.
The Bengaluru crowd was anticipating Kohli's first hundred since 2016 Kuldeep held on a superb return catch to dismiss him for 84 off 49 balls. AB de Villiers fell on the penultimate ball of the penultimate over but Marcus Stoinis hit a quick unbeaten 28 to help RCB go past 200.
Chris Lynn wasted little time in a steep chase for the Knight Riders. He was aggressive from the word go but Pawan Negi took a blinder at fine leg to get rid of the dangerous Sunil Narine. However, Robin Uthappa joined forces with Lynn and added 65 off the next 8 overs. Negi, fresh from that mind-numbing catch, was prepared to do more damage to KKR's chase.
In his first over in this edition of the IPL, Negi removed Robin Uthappa for a 25-ball 33. In his second over this IPL, Negi struck again to see the back of Chris Lynn for 43 off 31 balls. The onus was now on Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik. KKR have a lot of expectations from Rana and he did not disappoint despite the twin blows. Rana hit two sixes, one four and ran brilliantly in a 23-ball 37 even as Karthik struggled to break the shackles at the other end.
Yuzvendra Chahal, the current Purple Cap holder, had bowled beautifully for 3 overs without taking a wicket. In his last over, he picked up the important wicket of Nitish Rana as Andre Russell joined Dinesh Karthik in the middle. Karthik hit Navdeep Saini for a four and six off successive balls before holding out to Yuzvendra Chahal off the final ball of the 17th over. KKR needed 53 off 3 overs when Shubman Gill walked out to join Russell.
The chase was not over for KKR - Andre Russell smashed three successive sixes in the 18th over and RCB skipper Virat Kohli looked rattled. With 30 runs needed off the final 2 overs, the game was wide open. Andre Russell sealed the deal for KKR with three sixes off Tim Southee in the 19th over. KKR needed only 1 off the final over and that said a lot about Russell's efforts.