An incredible late assault from Andre Russell powered Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a thrilling five-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) here on Friday.
Russell walked in with KKR needing an improbable 67 runs off 26 balls, and then proceeded to smash RCB into submission with a breathtaking, unbeaten 13-ball 48.
Shower of sixes
The West Indian blasted seven sixes in a power-hitting exhibition of the highest quality, taking KKR past the finish line with five balls to spare. RCB’s disastrous campaign, meanwhile, extended to a fifth-straight loss.
The home team did itself no favours by dropping four catches — Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj and Virat Kohli the culprits on the field.
Faced with a stiff 206-run target, KKR rode on useful knocks from Chris Lynn (43), Robin Uthappa (33) and Nitish Rana (37) to stay in the hunt.
When captain Dinesh Karthik departed, leaving KKR on 153 for five, RCB was well and truly on top. But everything changed when Russell got into the act.
Earlier, after being put in, Kohli and de Villiers came good with a rapid 108-run second-wicket partnership. The duo got together after Parthiv Patel (25, 24b) was trapped in front by off-spinner Nitish Rana.
Parthiv was not at his fluent best, but played his part in a 64-run opening stand with Kohli.
Kohli (84, 49b, 9×4, 2×6) was in his element, striking the ball fluently.
Two crisp cover drives off Prasidh Krishna in the very first over got him going. A short while later, Kohli dismissed Lockie Ferguson with a wristy flick and a textbook straight drive.
The shots oozed class, the technique reminiscent of Sachin Tendulkar in his prime.
Batting on 35, Kohli had a reprieve when Sunil Narine put down a sitter at mid-wicket. Rana got Kohli to play early at a length ball only to find the West Indian asleep at the wheel.
The error would prove costly, as Kohli buckled down and extended his stay.
de Villiers, too, had his share of luck. On 11, he miscued a slog off Kuldeep Yadav, lobbing it high in the air. Ferguson rushed in from long-on but couldn’t hold on. The South African then went on attack mode, smashing the bowlers to all parts of the ground.
In the 18th over, Kuldeep prised out Kohli with a terrific reflex return catch. A disappointed Kohli walked back to the hut, even as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
de Villiers holed out to long-off in the next over, giving the tricky Narine a well deserved wicket.
Marcus Stoinis (28 not out, 13b, 3×4, 1×6) threw the bat around to push RCB past the 200-run mark. However, it was Russell and Knight Riders who ruled the night.
Parthiv Patel lbw b Rana 25 (24b, 3×4), Virat Kohli c & b Kuldeep 84 (49b, 9×4, 2×6), A.B. de Villiers c Gill b Narine 63 (32b, 5×4, 4×6), Marcus Stoinis (not out) 28 (13b, 3×4, 1×6), Moeen Ali (not out) 0 (2b); Extras (lb-1, w-4): 5; Total (for three wkts. in 20 overs): 205.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-64 (Parthiv, 7.5 overs), 2-172 (Kohli, 17.1), 3-185 (de Villiers, 18.5).
Prasidh 3-0-41-0, Chawla 4-0-32-0, Narine 4-0-30-1, Ferguson 2-0-32-0, Kuldeep 4-0-31-1, Rana 2-0-22-1, Russell 1-0-16-0.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Chris Lynn b Negi 43 (31b, 4×4, 2×6), Sunil Narine c Negi b Saini 10 (8b, 2×4), Robin Uthappa c Southee b Negi 33 (25b, 6×4), Nitish Rana c sub b Chahal 37 (23b, 1×4, 2×6), Dinesh Karthik c Chahal b Saini 19 (15b, 1×4, 1×6), Andre Russell (not out) 48 (13b, 1×4, 7×6), Shubman Gill (not out) 3 (3b); Extras (lb-2, w-8, nb-3): 13; Total (for five wkts. in 19.1 overs): 206.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-28 (Narine, 1.5 overs), 2-93 (Uthappa, 9.5), 3-108 (Lynn, 11.3), 4-139 (Rana, 15.4), 5-153 (Karthik, 16.6).
Southee 4-0-61-0, Saini 4-0-34-2, Chahal 4-0-24-1, Siraj 2.2-0-36-0, Negi 3.1-0-21-2, Stoinis 1.4-0-28-0.
Toss: Kolkata Knight Riders.
MoM: Andre Russell.
KKR won by five wickets with five balls remaining.