IPL 2021: KKR thrash RCB by nine wickets

Abu Dhabi: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) registered a comfortable nine-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their first match of the UAE-leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 here on Monday.

With this stunning win, the Eoin Morgan-led KKR rose to the fifth spot in the points table. The Virat Kohli-led side is still at third place in the points tally and looking good to qualify this year with six more games in hand.

Varun Chakravarthy and Andre Russell were the stars for KKR as they scalped three wickets each which helped restrict the batting-heavy RCB to a paltry 92 runs in the first innings.

Later, Shubman Gill and the surprise-package Venkatesh Iyer batted superbly to gun down 93 without much sweat. It was Iyer who fearlessly took the attack early on to the bowlers and Gill soon joined in showing his flair. The latter played some gorgeous strokes and smacked a quick-fire 48 before getting out with only 11 runs required.

Gill scored 48 off 34 balls before losing his wicket to experienced spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Whereas, Iyer hit 41 off 27 balls.

Earlier, Varun and Russell combined forces to send RCB crashing to 92 all out in 19 overs. Kolkata were water-tight with their bowling, hardly giving a lacklustre Bangalore batting order, struggling to come to terms with a two-paced pitch, some breathing space. It is Bangalore’s sixth-lowest total in the history of IPL.

After electing to bat first, Bangalore started off with captain Virat Kohli unleashing a lovely punch on the up through covers off Prasidh Krishna. But Krishna fought back on the next ball, trapping Kohli lbw with a delivery which nipped back in and hit him above the knee roll. Kohli (5) took the DRS but couldn’t turn the decision in his favour.

Devdutt Padikkal (22) looked in sublime touch with well-timed boundaries. But Lockie Ferguson sent him back on the last ball of power-play, taking a thin edge behind to keeper Dinesh Karthik while playing the ramp shot.

Debutant KS Bharat (16) tried to break the shackles with a back-foot pull off Andre Russell in the ninth over. But with no timing on the shot, the top-edge was grabbed by Shubman Gill running in from deep mid-wicket.

Bangalore’s day went from bad to worse as three balls later, Russell took out AB de Villiers for a golden duck with a quick yorker on leg-stump clipping his back foot and hitting the stumps. The double-wicket over by Russell broke the back of Bangalore’s innings.

Glenn Maxwell’s frustrating 17-ball stay at the crease ended with him coming out for the big shot, only to be clean bowled by Varun Chakravarthy. One brought two for Kolkata as Chakravarthy’s googly claimed Wanindu Hasaranga lbw for a golden duck on the next ball.

Chakravarthy added another wicket to his name with Sachin Baby (7) slicing to backward point. The leg-spinner’s day got better when he got his finger on the ball while trying to stop and ran out Kyle Jamieson from the non-striker’s end. Ferguson got his second wicket of the day with a slower yorker dismantling Harshal Patel’s bails.

Mohammed Siraj’s attempt to get cheeky with a scoop ended in fine leg’s hands, summing up Bangalore’s innings, devoid of momentum and direction.

Brief scores:
RCB 92 all out in 19 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 22; Varun Chakravarthy (3-13), Andre Russell (3-9) lost to KKR 94/1 in 10 overs (Shubman gill 48, Venkatesh Iyer 41 not out) by nine wkts.