Needing to score 9.20 from the start of the innings - amidst threat of showers, RCB were provided the launchpad by Gayle and Kohli. Gayle ended his eight-innings streak of single-digit scores by smashing a 31-ball 49. The Jamaican was slow to begin with; he scored just one run of the first seven balls he faced before exploding. He hit Morne Morkel for consecutive boundaries in the third over before picking his fellow-Jamaican Andre Russell for successive sixes in the fourth over. Sunil Narine was in the firing line in the fifth over when the left-hander hit him for boundaries off successive boundaries.
Gayle hit Narine into the stands of the first ball of the eighth over, before the bowler outfoxed him with a seam-up delivery and trapped him in front of the stumps. Gayle made 49 from 31 balls and the opening partnership was worth 71 runs.
AB de Villiers joined his captain Kohli in the middle, and it was business as usual for the pair. Barring the eleventh and twelfth over – which yielded five runs each, the duo picked up at least one boundary in the remaining overs. The duo not only pummeled the bowlers and picked up boundaries regularly, but one also got to see hare-like running between the wickets to pick up twos.
The 115-run unbeaten partnership between Kohli and de Villiers – which came in 11.1 overs – was an exhibition in batting and a lesson in how to chase targets. When they got together, RCB still needed 113 runs from 75 balls. Yet, never once did the duo panic or show signs of feeling the pressure of the required run rate. They were always in control of proceedings and knew exactly what had to be done to complete the task in front of them. Kohli remained unbeaten on 75 (51 balls, 5 fours, 3 sixes), while de Villiers raced to a 29-ball 50 and remained unbeaten on 59.
What made Virat’s knock extra special was that he batted with an injury right through – a split webbing on the right hand which was treated with a temporary fix - yet was always focused on the task in front of him.
KKR will rue the catch their captain Gautam Gambhir put down mid-way through the chase; Virat Kohli was on 32, and RCB still needed 91 from 67 balls, when Gambhir put down a sharp chance at point. The RCB captain made his opposite number pay for the lapse, leading his team to a convincing win. RCB got over the line in 18.4 overs.
Earlier in the evening, after being put in to bat, KKR posted 183-5 riding on the back of half-centuries by Gambhir and Manish Pandey and a cameo from Andre Russell at the end. The hosts lost Robin Uthappa in the third over but recovered through a partnership between Gambhir and Pandey. Both men were aggressive early on when the field restrictions were in force; Gambhir hit five boundaries while Pandey picked up four boundaries in eleven balls before the field restrictions were relaxed.
Gambhir brought up his half-century – his fifth of the season - in the tenth over, needing 32 balls to get to the milestone. The second wicket pair had added 76 runs before a mix-up in the running resulted in Gambhir’s dismissal; for the second time in the innings, both batsmen were stranded mid-pitch, when Iqbal Abdulla whipped off the bails at the non-striker’s end. Gambhir made 51 from 34 balls, aided with four boundaries. Pandey, who mixed timing and power in equal measure, was dismissed for a round 50, made from 35 balls and studded with five boundaries and two sixes.
Andre Russell and Shakib-al-Hasan then added 58 runs in 4.4 overs and ensured their team had the momentum going into the break. Russell plundered 39 of 19 balls (2 fours and 3 sixes), while Shakib hit a boundary and a six in his 11-ball 19.
Iqbal Abdulla, who found the leading edge of Uthappa’s bat and held on to the return catch, was the most effective RCB bowler; he bowled his four overs for 22 runs. Sreenath Arvind was the most successful, picking up two wickets in his four overs. Yuzvendra Chahal returned figures of 1-38 from his four overs. Shane Watson, who conceded 16 runs in the seven balls he bowled to Russell, finished with figures of 4-0-46-0.
Kolkata Knight Riders 183-5 in 20.0 Overs (Gautam Gambhir 51, Manish Pandey 50, Sreenath Arvind 2-41) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 186-1 in 18.4 Overs (Chris Gayle 49, Virat Kohli 75*, AB de Villiers 59*) by 9 wickets
Man of the Match: Virat Kohli, for his 51-ball 75.