With RCB almost home, a brilliant catch by Lynn to send back de Villiers turns the match around
Precariously perched on the precipice, Kolkata Knight Riders held its nerve to snatch a two-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at a packed Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday night.
Sculpting the win was Vinay Kumar’s exemplary last over that sent back the dangerous AB de Villiers, caught sensationally by Chris Lynn inches inside the boundary, and thereon by throttling the sixth-wicket pair of Albie Morkel and Mitchell Starc.
The Challengers were well and truly on track in their pursuit of the 151 required as Parthiv Patel and Yogesh Takawale laid a firm foundation.
They hit out against the pace of Morne Morkel or simply redirected the seamer towards the ropes.
After the exit of the openers, an encore of their assault against the Delhi Daredevils seemed imminent as Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh made merry in the middle. A flat hit from the left-hander went straight into the stands behind mid-wicket.
His being not entirely at ease against the rising ball — as evidenced earlier against a Morkel snorter — was a frailty in the southpaw that the KKR attack failed to exploit.
The sorcery in Sunil Narine’s spin which had reined in the batsmen surfaced in his last over and bamboozled Kohli — a peach of a delivery beating the bat, grazing the pad and rattling the woodwork.
With the arrival of de Villiers, the run-rate was bound to perk up. Virtually on the threshold, with 10 runs to go, Yuvraj’s square drive was picked up by Yusuf Pathan on the run off Umesh Yadav, raising hopes of a fightback.
After the Challengers chose to field, the Knight Riders were racked by two early setbacks. Skipper Gautam Gambhir was rapped pretty plumb in front by Mitchell Starc, and Manish Pandey’s leading edge off Albie Morkel was lapped up by Kohli at point.
Reflections of the purple and gold gear of the batsmen could be seen on the shiny strip that continued to favour the run-makers.
Lynn seemed unfazed even when facing a legend, whose jersey number was a significant 800. The Australian, underutilized by both the Deccan Chargers and Sun Risers Hyderabad in the past, made the most of this opportunity as he smote Muttiah Muralitharan over square leg and mid-wicket.
A little circumspect initially, Jacques Kallis followed suit as the third-wicket pair steered the ship to safer shores.
Once they were separated — Lynn lofting to long-off, problems plagued the Kolkata side again. Pathan came and went, and Kallis holed out to Yogesh Takawale at extra cover off Yuzvendra Chahal. Varun Aaron, breaking the 145 kmph barrier now and then, was the pick of the Bangalore bowlers with a bag of three for 16.