KKR captain Dinesh Karthik relishing his new found role as a finisher, played his part with a 10-ball-23 to make it easy in the end. Both those factors had a decisive impact as Knight Riders chased down 176 with relative ease, with five balls to spare, consigning Royal Challengers to their fifth loss in seven games. This season, RCB have been hit for over 200 thrice and lost all those games. This ground has always been hard to defend, we've done that to other teams too.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (Captain/WK), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna. Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock set the stage with their opening blizzard as both the batsman got going in tonight's game. Manan Vohra gets an inside edge that crashes on his leg stump. He'd then take young Shivam Mavi for two fours in the next over before Mandeep Singh started the barrage of sixes with two off Narine's final over.
Soon after the time-out, though, Royal Challengers lost their way.
Not long after, McCullum and Manan Vohra fell off successive Russell deliveries to round off a bad passage of play for RCB: three for eight in two overs. A score of 67 for 0 quickly turned to 75 for 3. While Kohli's 44-ball 68 might not come across as one of his more belligerent knocks but in the absence of de Villiers, he customised his plans effectively for his unit. Aware that his presence in the death overs could marginally increase the utility of Royal Challengers' score, Kohli was cautious early in his innings. They shifted gears though after the strategic time-out which was taken after the end of 14 overs.
Kohli's first boundary was a searing drive through the covers off Russell. Royal Challengers scored 75 from there; Kohli hit 48 of them.
On the other side of a 33-minute rain delay, Ashwin struck with his first delivery for RCB, having Narine caught on the fence; the latter had done his job, though. In the first meeting between these two teams at the Eden Gardens earlier this season, Kolkata pulled off a four-wicket victory. Then, with Knight Riders seemingly in control, the game drifted on with the illusion of control.
The wicket, however, put the run-scoring to a screeching halt as couple more wickets fell in the same over off Andre Russell.
The equation quickly came down to 43 off 24 balls. But much like their opponents, KKR too didn't seem like forcing matters much and were happy to take 51 in the first six overs.