Sixth consecutive win for the host; RCB’s challenge ends

Robin Uthappa emerged as Kolkata Knight Riders’ demolition man, conjuring up a brilliant innings to help his team reach the knock-out stage by crushing Royal Challengers Bangalore by 30 runs. The IPL-7 clash here at the Eden Gardens saw Knight Riders cruise to their sixth consecutive win to tally 16 points and secure a place in the play-off stage.

Batting first after making a string of successful chases, KKR came up with another fine performance where it scored 195 for four and later bowled with equal authority to restrict RCB to 165 for five.

Robin Uthappa’s blazing form continued undiminished as he picked up the second man-of-the-match award on the trot.

The explosive right-hander figured in a 121-run partnership with Shakib Al Hasan for the fourth wicket.

Uthappa cut, drove and pulled with great felicity in remaining unbeaten on 83 (51b, 10x4, 1x6), which also fetched him the Orange Cap for becoming the top scorer of the tournament so far.

This definitely was the result of his unmatched consistency which saw him score his fifth half-century in 13 innings and amass a total of 572 runs, which took him past King’s XI Punjab’s Glenn Maxwell on top of the scoring chart.

Shakib seemed to pick up from where he had left off.

His best came in the 15th over when he hit three sixes and a boundary to plunder 24 runs off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Singh Chahal.

Shakib, in scoring a well-crafted 60 (38b, 5x4, 3x6), provided the crucial support that made Uthappa’s efforts more worthwhile. Captain Gautam Gambhir, Manish Pandey and Yousuf Pathan, who was promoted in the batting order over Shakib, could not contribute much.As if inspired by Uthappa’s feat, Sunil Narine picked up the Purple Cap, capturing four wickets.

He continued to fox the batsmen as he tore through the RCB top order.

Narine tallied 20 wickets after returning figures of 4-0-20-4 and matched Bhuvneswar Kumar of Sunrisers Hyderabad on top of the list.

RCB skipper Virat Kohli (38) and wicketkeeper-batsman Yogesh Takawale (45) figured in a 85-run partnership for the second wicket but that was not enough to overhaul the stiff challenge posed by the host.

Scoreboard

Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa (not out) 83 (51b, 10x4, 1x6), Gautam Gambhir c Takawale b Starc 4 (4b, 1x4), Manish Pandey c Starc b Dinda 13 (12b, 3x4), Yusuf Pathan run out 22 (13b, 1x4, 2x6), Shakib Al Hasan b Abu Nechim 60 (38b, 5x4, 3x6), Ryan ten Doeschate (not out) 6 (3b, 1x6); Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-4, nb-1): 7; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 195.

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Gambhir), 2-23 (Pandey), 3-56 (Pathan), 4-177 (Shakib).

Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Mitchell Starc 4-0-32-1, Ashoke Dinda 4-0-38-1, Abu Nechim Ahmed 4-0-33-1, Muttiah Muralitharan 2-0-19-0, Yuvraj Singh 2-0-21-0, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-50-0.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle lbw b Yadav 6 (9b, 1x4), Yogesh Takawale b Narine 45 (36b, 5x4, 1x6), Virat Kohli c Morkel b Narine 38 (31b, 3x4, 1x6), Yuvraj Singh c Vinay Kumar b Narine 22 (12b, 1x4, 2x6), A.B. de Villiers b Narine 13 (13b, 1x4), Sachin Rana (not out) 19 (12b, 2x4), Mitchell Starc (not out) 12 (8b, 1x4); Extras (lb-8, w-1, nb-1): 10; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 165.

Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Gayle), 2-92 (Kohli), 3-93 (Takawale), 4-129 (Yuvraj), 5-133 (de Villiers).

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Morne Morkel 4-0-21-0, Umesh Yadav 4-0-45-1, Sunil Narine 4-0-20-4, Vinay Kumar 4-0-44-0, Shakib Al Hasan 4-0-27-0.

Man-of-the-match: R. Uthappa.

KKR won by 30 runs.