One of the favorites to go all the way in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), Royal Challengers Bangalore kick off their campaign with a clash against two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on April 8.
However, the total wasn’t enough for the Challengers as the hosts knocked down the target in 18.5 overs with four wickets remaining.
Who set up KKR’s chase? .
In his brief stay in the middle Narine slammed five sixes and four boundaries to ensure that KKR picked up the bulk of the runs in the PowerPlay period itself. He was kept inside the inner-circle throughout the first innings before re-igniting Kolkata’s damaging opening duo alongside Sunil Narine.
When RCB last played against KKR at the Eden Gardens in 2017, RCB suffered an embarrassing defeat after being bowled out for a paltry 49 in 9.4 overs – the lowest team total of the tournament so far. However, on the day, Nitish Rana certainly had nothing to be embarrassed about.
It was good aggressive bowling as he troubled the KKR batsmen with pace. If McCullum is fit I expect QDK to miss out and that may not be the best option but I’ll still take the Royal Challengers at [1.77] as opposed to KKR at [2.24]. But the latter, however, erred in line and was taken apart by Rana.
As the first success in the match, KKR got Quinton de Cock.
De Villiers, who is also popularly known as Mr 360 because of his ability to hit the ball anywhere on the ground, is also hopeful of winning the IPL trophy. The best aspect of his knock was that none of the big strokes were ugly slogs – he just swung through the line and hit a majority of his runs in the “V”, making life hard for the bowlers. Attempting a reverse sweep in a delivery of Piyush Chawla, de Cock fell into the hands of Vinay Kumar, who was placed at short third man.
What followed was another master-class from Kohli and AB de Villiers. They were somewhat justified when Rana delivered a half-tracker and was deposited over the mid-wicket fence by the South African.
Rinku Singh is my uncapped pick. Vinay Kumar put the finishing touches with a four in the penultimate ball of the 19th over. “As a captain, you’re expected to at least go to the playoffs, that’s the least anybody can expect”, Karthik had said in his first interaction with journalists as KKR captain.
RCB are next in action on Friday when they face Kings XI Punjab.