The Kolkata Knight Riders opened their account in VIVO IPL 2018 after they defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets at the Eden Gardens on Sunday night. After opting to bowl first, KKR restricted the visitors to 176-7. The home team’s chase was given the sails by opener Sunil Narine, who blitzed his way to a 17-ball half-century. KKR lost their way briefly when they lost three middle-order wickets in a short period of play, but skipper Dinesh Karthik (35*) stayed to the end and got the job done. KKR got over the finish line in the penultimate over.
Standout batting performances
There were two batting performances that stood out in the RCB innings; AB de Villiers (44 from 23 balls) played some breath-taking strokes and left spectators at the Eden Gardens in awe of his striking ability, even causing a few home fans to cheer for him. After his dismissal, Mandeep Singh, batting at number six – played a cameo (37 from 18 balls, 4 fours, 2 sixes) that took his team to a respectable total.
But the knock that had the biggest impact on the match, even admitted by the RCB captain in the post-match chat, was that of Sunil Narine. Scars of the Trinidadian’s assault on this same opposition last season were still fresh – and Narine decided to unleash the free-spirited batsman in him and inflicted more pain by scoring a 17-ball half-century. Pace or spin, whatever the line or length, Narine treated the bowlers with disdain; he scored all his runs in front of the wicket – the majority of them in the ‘V’, and four of his five sixes came in the region between long-on and midwicket.
Notable Support Act - Batting
Earlier in the evening, Brendon McCullum got the match underway in style; he collected boundaries off the first and sixth deliveries of the first over and in between deposited the ball into the stands at fine-leg. Pace or spin – every bowler who came up with the ball in hand – came in for punishment; McCullum collected a boundary and a six off Piyush Chawla and then collected two boundaries off Mitchell Johnson in the eighth over. His innings came to an abrupt halt when he couldn’t counter the turn Sunil Narine got off the pitch and had his stumps rattled; he made 43 from 27 balls.
Standout bowling performance
Nitish Rana, who had just 4 T20 wickets in his kitty before this match, broke the backbone of RCB’s batting with two strikes off consecutive deliveries. The 24-year old, who was handed the ball in the fifteenth over and brought on as the seventh bowler, was deposited into the stands at midwicket first ball; but he came back strongly, first dismissing AB de Villiers – caught at the midwicket boundary, and the very next delivery castled Virat Kohli with the perfect yorker. Rana conceded five runs off the remaining three deliveries and finished with figures of 1-0-11-2. Rana’s twin strikes derailed the RCB innings and possibly cost them about 20 crucial runs.
Among the RCB bowlers, Umesh Yadav bowled impressively; the pacer bowled a hostile spell – good pace, aggressive body language and troubled the batsmen with the short delivery. Yadav’s first spell read 3-0-12-2 – which included the scalps of Sunil Narine and Robin Uthappa. In his final over, Yadav troubled Andre Russell on a couple of occasions, but the batsman still collected two boundaries and a six.
Notable Support Act – Bowling
Chris Woakes gave RCB their first breakthrough when he dismissed Chris Lynn in the second over of the innings. He gave away 24 runs in his first two overs, but bowled a tidy third over – the 16th of the innings – in which he also picked up the wicket of Rinku Singh. The Englishman then accounted for the wicket of Russell in the eighteenth over to return figures of 4-0-36-3.
Stat of the Match:
Sunil Narine was dismissed in the sixth over, at which stage KKR had 65 runs on the board; Narine had contributed 50 from 19 balls, while the batsmen at the other end had contributed 14 from 13 balls.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 176-7 (AB de Villiers 44, Brendon McCullum 43, Mandeep Singh 37*, Nitish Rana 2-11) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 177-6 in 18.5 overs (Sunil Narine 50, Dinesh Karthik 35*, Nitish Rana 34, Mark Wood 3-36, Umesh Yadav 2-27) by 4 wickets.
Man of the Match: Sunil Narine, for his all-round performance (1-30 & 50 off 19 balls).