IPL: Russell, Pathan power Kolkata Knight Riders to victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore

kkrpathanpullsittolegside26Bengaluru: An explosive 96-run partnership from Andre Russell and Yusuf Pathan helped Kolkata Knight Riders defeat Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets to move to third in the IPL table on Monday. Earlier, the home side posted 185 on the board on the back of fifties from KL Rahul and Virat Kohli.

Chasing has been the flavour in this season of IPL. But when teams notched up wins batting second, Royal Challengers Bangalore have been doing the opposite. Their two wins this season came batting first and threatened do it once again after putting a daunting 185 on the board. But it wasn't to be.

If Umesh Yadav’s horrible bowling at the death, where he gave 41 runs off two overs, was not enough, Kolkata Knight Riders received another blow in the first of their chase after Stuart Binny removed his Karnataka team-mate Robin Uthappa cheaply. Opening partnerships have been KKR’s strength, but Uthappa’s wicket in the first over brought an end to the hopes of a good start. Aussie Chris Lynn came ahead of local lad Manish Pandey, but did not make much of a difference to the innings as he also left shortly to leave the side two down in the powerplay.

Just 37 runs came in the powerplay, and the bad start to the innings pushed the required run rate above 10. To make matters worse for the away side, skipper Gambhir also fell in the ninth over after making 37 off 29 balls. The left-hander missed a yorker on off-stump off Aravind to let the ball hit the pads before taking the long walk back to the pavilion. The wickets continued to fall as Manish Pandey also departed without giving the scorers much trouble.

117 runs were required of the last 10 overs for KKR and it seemed a distant possibility when Andre Russell and Yusuf Pathan joined in the middle. However, 55 runs off the next five overs, as Russell hit Shamis twice in the stands behind the midwicket boundary. The carnage at Chinnaswamy continued as Varun Aaron and Shane Watson faced the brunt of Russell and Pathan with them going for 16 and 24 runs respectively. All of sudden, the required run rate nosedived from 11 to 7.6. With just 23 needed off 18 balls, KKR strolled to victory with five balls to spare.

Earlier, after playing four away matches on the trot, Royal Challengers Bangalore returned to the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru hoping for a win against Kolkata Knight Riders to revive their stuttering IPL campaign. Two-time champions KKR reached Bengaluru on the back of two back-to-back defeats and with both teams coming off losses changes were sure to happen. The home side made four changes with Chris Gayle, Stuart Binny, Sreenath Aravind, and Yuzvendra Chahal coming into the XI,while KKR brought in Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, and Manish Pandey.

KKR lost last two matches batting first, and it was no surprise to see Gambhir opting to bowl when he won the toss. KL Rahul came out instead of Virat Kohli to open the innings, but the change in batting position did not made much of a difference to Kohli as he arrived in the middle after just nine balls into the innings. Chris Gayle came into the side after a four-match break, but the West Indian’s poor run continued as he returned to the pavilion after scoring just seven runs, which included a six off Morkel. Morkel was also the wicket-taker as a short-ball from the South African found the splice of Gayle’s bat to go up in the air,and Uthappa took the catch easily to welcome Kohli to the crease.

Kohli and Rahul started slowly with singles and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking. However, Sunil Narine’s introduction proved to be good one for the home side as Rahul went after the West Indies bowler to up the scoring rate. 10 runs came off Narine’s first over as the powerplay ended with 40/1 on the board, but it was just as a start for the right-handed batsman. Overshadowing his senior partner at the other end, Rahul found the ropes at will by sending Umesh, Chawla, and Narine to the ropes. The maximums were not far behind as he smashed one each over long-off and deep square leg in the 10th and 11th over respectively to bring up his third consecutive half-century of the season.

The partnership was threatening to take the game away from KKR, but Chawla delivered the much-needed wicket in the 12th over by removing Rahul to end the 84-run stand. Kohli and AB de Villiers formed century partnerships the last two times they played at the Chinnaswamy stadium, but this time, the duo managed just 17 runs together as Chawla trapped the South African right in front of the stumps in the 14th over.

Kohli brought up his fifth 50+ score of the season and departed soon after by hitting one to Russell at deep cover off Morkel. But a 23-run horror over from Umesh Yadav gave the home side the much-needed momentum in the end as the scoring rate took a giant upwards urge. Shane Watson, Sachin Baby, and Stuart Binny cashed in on the poor bowling from the KKR side and scored 54 off the last three overs to take the team to 185/7.