Kolkata Knight Riders’ Suyash Sharma (2nd right), celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Shahbaz Ahmed during their Indian Premier League cricket match in Bengaluru, on Wednesday. AP
A quick-fire fifty from Jason Roy followed by clinical bowling performance by spinners Varun Chakaravarthy, Suyash Sharma and all-rounder Andre Russell led Kolkata Knight Riders to an impressive 21-win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in an IPL 2023 match and helped them end their four-match losing streak in the tournament at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, here on Wednesday.
With this win, they also kept their top-four aspirations alive
An aggressive 56 off 29 balls from Roy and a quick 48 off 21 balls from captain Nitish Rana, along with unbeaten 18 and 12 from Rinku Singh and David Wiese propelled Kolkata to reach 200/5 in 20 overs.
In defence, Suyash began the pullback for Kolkata by taking 2/29, before Chakaravarthy and Russell picked 3/27 and 2/29 respectively in restricting Bangalore to 179/8, despite captain Virat Kohli’s 54 off 37 balls and Mahipal Lomror impressing in an 18-ball 34.
It was an innings of three halves for Kolkata with the bat on a dry-looking pitch. They shined in power-play by going wicketless, slowed down in middle-overs and got a finishing kick in the death overs by fetching 69 runs.
Before Wednesday’s match, Kolkata’s first wicket numbers made for a very grim read: 86 runs from seven matches. But Roy flipped the script with his free-flowing strokeplay as Kolkata’s first-wicket stand was worth 83 runs in 9.2 overs.
Roy was driving and smashing Mohammed Siraj for three fours, before delightfully hitting a well-picked six off David Willey. On the other end, N Jagadeesan was trying his best to match up to Roy, cutting and driving twice off Willey for boundaries.
Roy’s blitzkrieg hit its high point when he smacked four sixes in the sixth over bowled by Shahbaz Ahmed going for 25 runs, as the right-hander brought up his fifty in 25 balls.
Jagadeesan struggled to match up Roy’s pace and Vyshak Vijaykumar put an end to his innings in the tenth over when the right-handed batter didn’t get enough elevation on a pull, holing out to deep mid-wicket.
Four balls later, the vociferous crowd roared again as Vyshak cleaned up Roy with a top-class yorker angled on leg-stump, as Bangalore gave away 27 runs from overs 7-11, conceding just one boundary.
Rana and Venkatesh Iyer hit boundaries off Wanindu Hasaranga, Vyshak and Willey whenever they pitched short or gave width, while rotating the strike. Bangalore also gave reprieves to Rana twice — Siraj dropped his catch at long off and Harshal Patel shelled a chance at fine leg in 13th and 15th overs.
Iyer signalled a shift in gears by slamming Harshal down the ground for four, followed by Rana slamming consecutive sixes over deep backward square leg to take 19 runs off the 16th over. Rana then hit Vyshak for successive fours, and ended the 17th over with a lofted six over deep cover.
But Hasaranga took the duo out within three balls in a no-boundary 18th over — Rana’s attempt to reverse-sweep ended in short fine leg taking a forward diving catch while Iyer’s slog-sweep was caught by long-on.
Rinku straightaway got going by slogging Siraj for six, followed by slicing through third man and driving over point to pick back-to-back fours in the 19th over, which the pacer ended by castling Russell with a perfect yorker. Wiese slammed Harshal for sixes over long-on and short third man to take Kolkata to exactly 200 as 15 runs came off the final over.
Chasing 201, Kohli and Faf du Plessis took a boundary each off Vaibhav Arora in the opening over. Kohli firmly punched Umesh Yadav through cover for four more, followed by du Plessis carting him for back-to-back sixes.
Du Plessis’s stay came to an end when he holed out to long-on off a flighted googly from Suyash. Kohli continued to pull off him and Chakaravarthy for boundaries, though Suyash trapped Ahmad lbw. In the last over of power-play, Kolkata struck again when Glenn Maxwell hit a slower delivery from Chakravarthy straight to mid-off.
Lomror broke a sedate period for Bangalore by sweeping fiercely off Rana for four, followed by muscling two sixes off Sunil Narine. Kohli got a boundary on a thick outside edge off Suyash and took off for a brace on the very next ball to reach his fifty in 33 balls.
Lomror pulled Chakaravarthy for a six, but the spinner bounced back as the left-handed batter holed out in the same region. The Chinnaswamy crowd was further silenced in the 13th over when Kohli pulled off Russell, only for deep mid-wicket diving to his left and taking a low stunning catch with both hands.
From there, Bangalore’s innings nosedived as Suyash Prabhudessai was slow in taking the second run and was run-out at the non-striker’s end. Kolkata ended Bangalore’s last hope for a victory by having Hasaranga and Karthik caught in the deep in successive overs, making the result a foregone conclusion.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 200/5 in 20 overs (Jason Roy 56, Nitish Rana 48; Wanindu Hasaranga 2/24, Vyshak Vijaykumar 2/41) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 179/8 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 54, Mahipal Lomror 34; Varun Chakaravarthy 3/27, Andre Russell 2/29) by 21 runs