Kolkata: Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers once again delivered the goods with their bats as their Royal Challengers Bangalore romped home with 9 wickets to spare against Kolkata Knight Riders in an Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at the Eden Gardens here on Monday.
Kohli and de Villiers remained not out on 75 and 59 respectively while Chris Gayle contributed with a 31-ball 49. The Kohli-de Villiers partnership yielded 115 runs for the men in red and black.
With the win, Bangalore stay alive in the competition with 6 wins from 12 games.
Chasing Kolkata’s 183/5, they got off to a flyer as Gayle – who had been in slumber for much of this season – smashed the ball to all parts of the ground.
The burly Jamaican first took on Andre Russell hitting him for 17 in the third over and then clubbed Sunil Narine for two consecutive fours in the fifth.
After six overs, Bangalore were cruising at 63 for no loss but then Gayle was adjudged leg-before-wicket off a Narine delivery.
It was difficult to understand who the home team were as chants of ‘Kohli, Kohli’ went up time and again around the packed stadium as the Bangalore captain came in – and did not disappoint either as he picked the boundaries at regular intervals. However, Kohli was dropped at 32 by his opposite number Gautam Gambhir.
The miss proved costly as Kohli got to yet another half-century, while his partner at the other end – de Villiers – started clobbering them too.
Before long, the visitors were in touching distance of the total and the duo did the needful with 8 balls to spare.
Earlier twin fifties from Gambhir (51) and Manish Pandey (50) aided by Russell’s late blitz of 19-ball 39 helped Kolkata get to a fighting total.
Even though the hosts lost Robin Uthappa (2) early, Gambhir manage to pick the gaps along with Pandey. By the end of the powerplay, the team was 51/1.
The onslaught continued in the next over as legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal was carved for 16.
Bangalore then pulled things back a little thereafter and also grabbed the vital wicket of Gambhir who got run-out shortly after getting to his fifty.
Thereafter, new man Yusuf Pathan and the already set Pandey failed to pierce the gaps. Runs dried down and Pandey was holed out in the deep trying to up the run-rate. Yusuf (6) too was out stumped.
Next to perish was Suryakumar Yadav (5) who was caught at long on by Iqbal Abdulla. The flurry of wickets also put a brake on the scoring rate much to the relief of Bangalore.
But Shakib Al Hasan and Russell enthralled the strong Eden crowd with some powerhitting to propel Kolkata to such a score. The last three overs yielded 38 runs for the home side.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 183/5 (Gautam Gambhir 51, Manish Pandey 50; Sreenath Aravind 2/41) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore: 186/1 (Virat Kohli 75, AB de Villiers 59)