New Delhi: KKR collected their fourth win this season beating RCB by 6 wickets. While a three-wicket haul by Andre Russell helped KKR to restrict RCB to 175, an unbeaten 62 by Chris Lynn, after getting a reprieve on 8, powered the visitors raze down 175 with five balls to spare.
Shubman Gill finished the game with a boundary over point off Umesh Yadav. More than the bowling, RCB were miserable in the field as not only they fluffed a couple of chances but also conceded boundaries to keep losing control over the game. Virat Kohli got a fantastic 68 not out of 44 balls but his innings was not enough to help his team claim a win. Later, he also took a blinder of a catch at long-on, diving full length forward to dismiss Dinesh Karthik but it was a tad too late.
With this win, KKR stay on the fourth spot while RCB too stayed at the seventh spot.
Though the wicket spun a lot, KKR openers Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn went after the RCB bowlers right from the start. KKR were 55/0 after powerplay before rain interrupted play. Lynn had early problems against spin and nearly departed on 8 had M Ashwin caught a sitter at cover off Yuzvendra Chahal. After that, a different Lynn was on display as he used the sweep well to find boundaries. Having got an idea of the pitch and the slow turn it offered, Lynn waited for the ball and executed the sweep to perfection. Occasionally, he lined up for the sweep but changed his mind at the right moment to place it over cover for a boundary. Lynn also took a leaf out of Kohli's book as he too played the ball late. His innings was quite unusual as he only hit one six and seven boundaries, showing even he had to anchor the innings.
Though there were contributions from Robin Uthappa (36) and Dinesh Karthik (23), it was Andre Russell's three-wicket haul that set the tempo for KKR. KKR couldn't thank Russell enough as his twin strikes in the tenth over and the third in the 18th over, which broke an important 65-run stand between Virat Kohli and Mandeep Singh, got the side to claw back in style. Had RCB not threw wickets like that, the eventual score could have easily reached 200.
Why Russell's bowling will stand out could simply be put down to the fact that he picked up all his wickets at a time when the hosts were on top. RCB were well placed at 74/1 when he got the dangerous Brendon McCullum with a short ball that picked up a faint edge on it's way to the keeper. Next ball, he splattered Manan Vohra's timber, stunning him with pace. His figures read 1-0-5-2 while RCB's flashed in red -- 75/3.
But till the time Virat Kohli remained on the crease, he transformed a dicey situation into a good one. And even after RCB were wounded by Russell's heavy jabs, Kohli and Mandeep Singh took them on and managed to stitch an important 65-run stand. The duo managed to milk bowlers and take RCB's score to 140 in 17 overs. Russell began his third over and got hit for a six and a single. But Russell landed another blow as Mandeep holed out to mid-wicket the third ball. Once again Russell had manipulated in swinging the momentum in KKR's favour. Even a slight lull could prevent a team from reaching a par total. And RCB would admit that.
On a day when AB de Villiers missed out on fitness, Kohli's unbeaten 68 off 44 balls ensured RCB reached a respectable 175 in 20 overs. After this knock, he has totalled 317 runs in 7 innings and is third on the list. The way Kohli batted, he would have liked watching RCB getting back to winning ways.
Kohli batted with responsibility making sure his bowlers were given at least a respectable total to defend. Although it could be easily said that RCB fell short by at least 20-30 runs, it could have been worse had Kohli not stayed until the end.
Having arrived on the crease in the 9th over and seeing quick wickets fall in front of him, it was on him to stem RCB's slide. Though he was setting a target, but from there on, Kohli made it look like a chase. RCB, thanks to the skipper, scored 100 in the last ten. Kohli got into calculations and targeted bowlers who he thought should be taken upon. He displayed a mix of elegance and power, skill and execution to power his way to an unbeaten 68.
He drove beautifully through cover and made sure he owned that region. His drives against Russell and Mitchell Johnson got photographers delighted. Later, he used his bottom hand well against Russell in the 18th over to deposit him for sixes with his trademark short-arm jabs. Against youngsters Shivam Mavi, he manoeuvered the field and picked up gaps by playing the ball really late. Last but not the least, he shortened his backlift to better his timing against KKR quicks.
Usually, when De Villiers is in the ranks, Kohli takes his chances a little early. But with the responsibility rested on his shoulders, he obliged the crowd with his exquisite display.