RCB falls to its sixth defeat of this edition; Narine once again excels with the ball

Kolkata Knight Riders held on to a thin filament of hope as it defeated the strong Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets as the venue — JSCA International Stadium Complex — saw an exciting initiation into the Indian Premier League on Sunday.

The match turned out to be a low-scoring affair as the bowlers dominated on a pitch offering assistance to all. Given a target of 116, KKR overhauled it with four balls to spare and maintained its winning momentum.

The home side tallied 12 points from six wins and eight losses and nurtured a slender chance of qualifying for the play-offs. The visitor remained on 16 points after suffering its sixth loss of the tournament.

Looking for a win to almost ensure a play-off berth RCB was let down by its batting as KKR put up desperate effort to remain in the hunt.

Facing one the easiest targets this season, KKR did not show the required felicity in its pursuit apparently unable to shake off the inherent weakness in batting.

Manvinder Bisla, whose erratic form is one of the reasons for the team’s faltering performance, departed unceremoniously for a duck off the second ball of the innings to Ravi Rampaul. The West Indian quickie justifiably got a ‘wicket maiden’ as KKR was stunned by the early jolt.

Jacques Kallis survived a scare when he was a let off by a gross misjudgement from Abhimanyu Mithun in Rampaul’s second over (the third of the innings). The South African all-rounder went on to score 41 providing the backbone to the host’s reply.

Manoj Tiwary (24), Yusuf Pathan (18), Gautam Gambhir (14) and Ryan ten Doeschate, who remained unbeaten on 11, made their contributions to help KKR overhaul the target.

RCB’s wrecker-in-chief Chris Gayle came up against some disciplined bowling from the opposition. Gayle, who had dispatched every KKR bowler out of the park in his unbeaten 85 in his home outing last month, could not tackle the mix of spin and medium-pace employed by the host here.

Sunil Narine returned to his wicket-taking form and regained the ‘purple cap’ with a take of four for 22. Sri Lankan Sachithra Senanayake ably assisted him with a frugal effort. Jacques Kallis and Lakshmipathy Balaji were equally tidy in the medium-pace department.

Royal Challengers made an uncharacteristically slow start as Cheteswar Pujara, Galye and Virat Kohli could not find the boundary route with the desired frequency. The power-play fetched the visitor just 22 runs.

The initial listlessness lasted till the end as KKR tightened its grip on the opponent maintaining the disciplined approach. Towards the end A.B. de Villiers (28) tried to infuse some pace but his effort could only help RCB reach 115.

Scoreboard:

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Cheteshwar Pujara c Balaji b Senanayake 5 (14b), Chris Gayle st Bisla b Narine 33 (36b, 1x4, 1x6), Virat Kohli b Kallis 17 (14b, 2x4), A.B. de Villiers c Bisla b Balaji 28 (22b, 1x4, 1x6), Moises Henriques c Tiwary b Kallis 11 (11b), Saurabh Tiwary lbw b Narine 1 (3b), R. Vinay Kumar (not out) 14 (13b, 1x4), Ravi Rampaul lbw b Narine 0 (3b), Abhimanyu Mithun c Tiwary b Narine 2 (2b), Murali Kartik b Balaji 0 (1b), Jaydev Unadkat (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-1): 3; Total (for nine wickets in 20 overs): 115.

Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Pujara), 2-46 (Kohli), 3-70 (Gayle), 4-95 (de Villiers), 5-96 (Tiwary), 6-102 (Henriques), 7-106 (Rampaul), 8-108 (Mithun), 9-112 (Kartik).

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Sachithra Senanayake 4-0-18-1, Lakshmipathy Balaji 4-0-22-2, Sunil Narine 4-0-22-4, Jacques Kallis 4-0-17-2, Ryan ten Doeschate 1-0-14-0, Yusuf Pathan 1-0-6-0, Rajat Bhatia 2-0-14-0.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Manvinder Bisla c Henriques b Rampaul 0 (2b), Gautam Gambhir c Gayle b Vinay Kumar 14 (15b, 3x4), Jacques Kallis c Henriques b Mithun 41 (45b, 4x4), Yusuf Pathan lbw b Kartik 18 (16b, 1x4, 1x6), Manoj Tiwary c Kohli b Vinay Kumar 24 (27b, 3x4), Ryan ten Doeschate (not out) 11 (7b, 2x4), Rajat Bhatia (not out) 3 (4b); Extras (lb-1, w-4): 5; Total (for five wickets in 19.2 overs): 116.

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Bisla), 2-31 (Gambhir), 3-61 (Pathan), 4-96 (Kallis), 5-103 (Tiwary).

Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Ravi Rampaul 4-1-17-1, Abhimanyu Mithun 4-0-37-1, Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-27-0, R. Vinay Kumar 3.2-0-17-2, Murali Kartik 4-0-17-1.

Man-of-the-match: J. Kallis.

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