Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers did what they often do at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. But on Friday night, Andre Russell stole the limelight with a sensational innings that powered the Kolkata Knight Riders to their third win of VIVO IPL 2019 and left Royal Challengers Bangalore winless after five matches.
In the evening, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers scored half-centuries, stitched together a century partnership and powered RCB to 205-3. The Knight Riders kept themselves in the hunt with contributions from all their batsmen, before Russell turned up and did he has done right through this season. KKR needed 67 from 26 balls when the Jamaican walked out to bat. He smashed seven sixes and a four, romped to 48 not out off 13 balls, and helped the Knight Riders get across the line with five balls to spare.
Earlier, put in to bat, Parthiv Patel and Virat added 64 runs in 7.5 overs. While Virat was the aggressive of the two openers, Parthiv did his bit by rotating the strike while also finding the occasional boundary. That opening partnership was the perfect launching pad for Virat and de Villiers, and the pair didn’t disappoint. They added 108 runs for the second wicket; while de Villiers was the major contributor in the first 50 runs of the partnership, Virat caught up and made an even contribution in the second half of the partnership.
After both the well-set batsmen were dismissed, Marcus Stoinis gave RCB the end-innings flourish; the Australian hit two fours and a six, and scored 16 runs off the final four deliveries of the innings. RCB, who were 96-1 after 12 overs, finished at 205-3.
Standout batting performances
Andre Russell turned up and played a match-winning innings for the third time this season. The RCB bowlers repeatedly kept bowling length, and he was only too happy to deposit them into the stands. The one attempt to bowl a variation – which ended up being a high full toss – too was sent into orbit. Russell had one run from four balls, but caused mayhem thereafter, collecting boundaries off eight of the next nine deliveries he faced. Russell hit seven sixes and a boundary in a 13-ball cameo that took KKR to a win from a seemingly impossible situation.
Virat dazzled with a mixture of fluent drives through cover, straight down the ground, flicks off the pad and delectable late cuts. One could sense intent in the first two strokes the RCB captain played; head forward, leaning into the stroke, high elbow and the flourish in his follow through – as a result of which the ball found the gap in the cover region. The moment the ball made contact with the bat, the fielders instantly knew they only had to retrieve the ball from the boundary. Virat’s innings was not only about all the hits; despite the small ground, on several occasions he placed the ball perfectly enough to give him the opportunity to hare between the wickets for two runs. Virat brought up his half-century off 31 balls and carried on to make 84 from 49 balls. He was dismissed at the start of the 18th over when he drilled one straight back down the ground, but Kuldeep Yadav was sharp enough to intercept it and complete a return catch.
At the other end, de Villiers (63 from 32 balls) muscled the ball. He used sleight of feet to upset the bowlers’ lengths; he would move around the stumps, go deep into the crease or dance down the track to get leverage. de Villiers hit five fours (4 of them through extra cover) and four sixes (two of them down the ground), and raced to his half-century off 28 balls. He was dismissed in the nineteenth over when his lofted off-drive off Sunil Narine was pouched right on the ropes.
Notable Support Performances – Batting
As expected, the conditions were to Chris Lynn’s liking, and the Australian gave a good account of himself. He batted freely against the RCB quicks, scoring the majority of his 43 runs when there was pace on the ball. Lynn’s 31-ball innings contained four boundaries and two sixes. The contributions from Robbie Uthappa (33 from 25 balls) and Nitish Rana (37 from 23 balls) also merit a mention, for they ensured KKR were always in with a chance.
Standout Bowling performance
The only bowler who has mastered the conditions and the short boundaries at the Chinnaswamy Stadium – Yuzvendra Chahal – once again delivered the goods for RCB. In a contest where most of the bowlers made up the numbers, the RCB leg-spinner conceded just one boundary in his spell and finished with impressive figures of 4-0-24-1. Chahal bowled the sixth and eighth overs, and was then called on to bowl the fourteenth and sixteenth overs.
When Pawan Negi was introduced into the attack, the Knight Riders were sitting pretty at 92-1 after nine overs. The left-arm spinner bowled at the right pace to get purchase off the track. He made an instant contribution when he beat Robbie in flight, had the batsman playing early and hole out to long-off. In his second over, he once again tossed the ball up, had Lynn in two minds, only for the ball to spin past the outside edge and crash into middle and off stumps. The RCB captain perhaps missed a trick by not bowling Negi as soon as Russell came out to bat. Eventually, despite being one of the better bowlers, the left-arm spinner only bowled 3.1 overs, finishing with returns of 2 for 21.
Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine were the most impressive bowlers for the Knight Riders. Despite having to contend with a flat track, short boundaries and a rampant Kohli & de Villiers, both spinners held their own and returned respectable figures. In an innings where over 200 runs were scored, Narine and Kuldeep finished with economy rates of 7.50 and 7.75 respectively. Kuldeep dismissed Kohli, while Narine accounted for de Villiers’ wicket.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 205-5 in 19.1 overs (Chris Lynn 43, Robbie Uthappa 33, Andre Russell , Pawan Negi 2-21) defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore: 205-3 (Virat Kohli 84, AB de Villiers 63) by 5 wickets.
Stat of the Match
Virat Kohli surpassed Suresh Raina’s run aggregate to become the highest run-getter in the IPL.
He also reached a couple of milestones during his 84; he completed 8000 runs in T20 cricket and reached 2000 runs as opener in the IPL.
Man of the Match:
Andre Russell, for his 48 not out.