Russell’s swashbuckling innings at the death hands Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) a
close fought 5-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at Chinnaswamy
Stadium. When Russell came on to bat, KKR needed 67 more to win from 26
deliveries and the match. But Russell’s unbeaten 13-ball 48, including 29 runs off the
penultimate over off Tim Southee tilted the game in KKR’s favour.
Despite Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers’ sensational innings, RCB are still in search of their first win of the season after 5 matches into the tournament. Kohli, who once again opened the batting today hit 9 fours and a couple of sixes for his stroke-filled 49-ball 84. De Villiers on the other hand was not too far behind as he too scored 63 off 32 deliveries. KKR fast bowlers went for plenty of runs and it was their spinners – Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana and Piyush Chawla – who eventually finished with a wicket apiece.
KKR had a big chance to dismiss de Villiers early, but Lockie Ferguson put down a difficult chance at mid-off. After that, de Villiers looked in sublime touch. Kohli and de Villiers put on 108 for the second wicket in less than 10 overs, which set up the platform for a big flourish in the end. Marcus Stoinis hit 4, 6, 2 and 4 off the final four balls of the innings to take RCB’s score 205 for 3 – their highest this year so far.
KKR to their credit kept up with the required run-rate. RCB too dropped a couple of chances, including a sitter when Chris Lynn was going bonkers. Despite a disciplined bowling effort from Pawan Negi (2-21), RCB could not get over the line. Lynn (43) and Robin Uthappa (33) threatened to take the match away from RCB with their 65-run second wicket stand, but Negi removed both of them in his opening two overs to put RCB back in the driver’s seat.
With two new batsmen – Rana and Dinesh Karthik – it became increasingly to get any sort of momentum going. Andre Russell continued his scintillating form in the tournament and he struck 7 sixes from his 13 deliveries to take his side to their third victory of the tournament.
It was evident that KKR’s 29 runs in the penultimate over increased their win% by 57, giving them just one run to win in the final over. In the previous over - jointly bowled by Mohammed Siraj and Marcus Stoinis - KKR’s win % had initially increased by 31.
RCB on the other hand were cruising at a smooth rate in their innings. However, they suffered a minor blip when Parthiv Patel was dismissed in the 8th over and they also got just 4 runs off the Nitish Rana over.