Kolkata Knight Riders hosted Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata in what was the first game of both the sides in the IPL 2018. While RCB was star-studded as always, KKR had an altogether new look. But contrary to the statures, the hosts proved to be too good for the visitors.
Dinesh Karthik, the adopted captain of KKR, won the toss and elected to field first. RCB went in with an explosive opening pair of Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock. The Kiwi veteran went on the offensive from the beginning as he collected 14 off the first over. De Kock didn’t have a great time as he got out for just 4 off the bowling of Piyush Chawla in the 2nd over.
The skipper Virat Kohli joined McCullum in the middle who was flourishing from one end. Kohli played second fiddle as the score raced off to 63/1 after 8 overs. In the bid to keep going, McCullum lost his wicket to Sunil Narine in the 9th over after scoring 43 off 27 balls.
The ABD show
The dream pair of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers was at the crease then and the latter was up and running straight away. He slammed Kuldeep Yadav for 2 consecutive sixes in the 10th over and struck one six each in the next 2 overs that followed. Kohli too took a leaf out his partner’s book and sent Chawla packing over the ropes.
It was absolute carnage at the Eden as ABD was in a destructive mood. The pair had already shared a fifty-run stand. AB was looking in no trouble whatsoever and Kohli, who was playing cautiously until then, also had started to open his hands.
Nitish Rana’s over – The Turning Point
While every KKR bowler was traveling to the ropes and the score raced off to 121/2 after 14 overs, Karthik made a surprise call and brought the part-time bowler Nitish Rana into the attack in the 15th over. The eyes of de Villiers lit up and he smashed one out of the park straight away. It seemed it was a big mistake to introduce a new-comer against the ominous-looking batsman.
But it turned out to be a masterstroke as de Villiers, in the bid to go for another big one, mistimed one to Mitchell Johnson at deep mid-wicket who accepted the catch with both hands. The South African went back after scoring 44 off 23 balls that included a four and 5 sixes.
The big threat of AB was gone but Kohli was still at the crease. But who would believe that the fairytale for Rana would go from good to better as he accounted for the wicket of the opposition skipper as well? A perfectly pitched yorker went through the defense of Kohli and disturbed the woodwork. He had to walk back for 31 off 33 balls. The departure of the 2 best batsmen in the side was a massive blow and made the difference of 25-30 runs to the final total.
The next 4 overs yielded only 28 runs but Mandeep Singh’s strikes in the last over, took RCB to a total of 176/7 at the end of 20 overs. Had Kohli and de Villiers stayed until the last over, the score could well have gone past 200 that would have been extremely difficult for KKR to chase down.
Narine’s blitz led KKR’s successful chase
The opener Chris Lynn fell quickly but his partner Sunil Narine made the job easy for KKR as he notched up a half-century off just 17 balls and took full advantage of the fielding restrictions. Narine got out in the 6th over but the score already had boosted to 68/2 at the end of the powerplay.
Robin Uthappa scored just 11 runs and fell prey to Umesh Yadav and if there was any hope left for RCB, it was blown away by Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik who added 55 runs for the 4th wicket. Rana, Rinku Singh and Andre Russell lost their wickets in the hunt for quick runs but the captain Karthik stood firm and brought his side home with 7 balls to go.
Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and opted to bowl first
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 176/7 in 20 overs
AB de Villiers 44, Brendon McCullum 43
Nitish Rana 11/2, Vinay Kumar 30/2
Kolkata Knight Riders: 177/6 in 18.5 overs
Sunil Narine 50, Dinesh Karthik 35*
Chris Woakes 36/3, Umesh Yadav 27/2
Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wickets
Player of the Match: Sunil Narine