It was all the familiar script for KKR. Andre Russell bailing them out when there is no hope left. Only this time it was too much for Russell as well to pull off a victory from the jaws of the defeat. Nitish Rana was excellent in the chase as well. They lost the match against RCB by just 10 runs when they should have lost by much more.
Winning the toss KKR decided to bowl first on an absolute belter. They backed their hitting power to overcome the target. The Knight Riders started brilliantly not giving much away to Patel and Kohli. Narine removed Patel in the 4th over. KKR did not let RCB run away with it at the top holding them at 70 for 2 at the halfway stage. But then KKR had no answers to Kohli and Moeen Ali who shifted the gears magnificently. Kuldeep Yadav leaked 27 in 16th over and KKR leaked 143 in last 10 overs.
Chasing 214 KKR needed a strong start. However, opener Lynn fell to Steyn in the very first over for 1. Narine tried to hit his way out of trouble but he fell in the 4th over with run-rate still below 6. Shubman Gill went back without making an impact and Uthappa’s painfully slow 9 off 20 shifted the game totally in favor of RCB. But there was a twist to come. Nitish Rana and Andre Russell hit 14 sixes among them and took KKR close to an unbelievable victory only to fall just short.
Andre Russell was the most economical bowler conceding 17 in 3 overs picking up 1 wicket. Gurney, Narine, and Kuldeep also took one wicket each but they went for much more. Gurney, Prasidh Krishna, and Kuldeep went for more than 10 an over. Nitish Rana scored 85 with a strike rate of about 185 in just 46 balls. But it was Andre Russell who gave a scare to the RCBians with 65 off just 25 deliveries. It was not enough in the end as KKR fell short by 10 runs.
RCB and victory have not come in the same game far too often this season. This time too Andre Russell came too close to snatching it for KKR but RCB held on. They did not let the work of centurion Kohli and Moeen Ali to go waste after the duo helped RCB reach a score of above 200.
Batting first RCB started slowly. They were 70 for 2 in 10 overs with Kohli and Ali at the crease. Moeen Ali then took it on himself to push for boundaries. He Succeeded in getting the momentum that Kohli joined later to lend his hands. Kohli reached his half-century in 40 deliveries. Next 50 took 17 deliveries as Kohli completed his sixth IPL century and took RCB to 213.
In defense of such a big total, the RCB bowlers started well. They did not give away any freebies, especially, to Uthappa who looked unable to score at all. Until Andre Russell came to the crease, the required rate looked too tall even for him to overcome. But then some sumptuous hitting followed by a cool last over by Ali who defended 24 in the last over.
Virat Kohli top scored by RCB with his 5th IPL Hundred. However, it was Moeen Ali who started the charge with 66 off just 28 deliveries. Stoinis helped in the end with a score 17 off 8 to help RCB reach 213. Dale Steyn picked up 2 wickets in 4 overs for 40 runs. Saini and Stoinis took one wicket each. Russell and Rana disturbed the numbers of RCB bowlers in the end. Every RCB bowler except for Saini went for more than 8 an over. Thankfully the batsmen had given enough cushion for the bowlers to snatch a victory.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will play their next game against the table toppers CSK on 21st April 2019 at Bengaluru. The Royal Challengers must be relieved after that close win against the Knight Riders. They are clear in the head though now as they have to win every single game to stay alive in the series. CSK would, however, come back strongly after their recent loss to maintain supremacy in the tournament.
Kolkata Knight Riders will play Sunrisers Hyderabad away from home on 21st April 2019. KKR is sixth in the point table now and understands that every loss from here would hurt their chances. The Knight Riders are against a team that finds themselves in a similar situation. It will be interesting to see who triumphs.
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