BENGALURU: How quickly equations change in T20 cricket, and how quickly balance of the game shifts from one side to the other. Towards the middle of Kolkata Knight Riders’ chase, it became a real struggle to connect bat to ball. Yusuf Pathan (60 not out, 29 balls) and Andre Russell (39, 24 balls) were out in the middle, and trying their best to fight it out against Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling attack. It looked more like a baseball game with strikeouts.
It looked like it was just a matter of time before KKR tasted defeat. But twenty four runs in the 17th over from Shane Watson must have given KKR the confidence. Even from here, the game could have gone either way.
The fifth wicket partnership of 96 runs between Pathan and Russell was crucial. KKR scored 189 for five in 19.1 overs in reply to RCB’s 185 for seven wickets. This gave the two-time champions a five-wicket win at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Monday.
Things might have been different had Andre Russell been stumped on 30 off Yuzvendra Chahal. It is these small things that lead to big losses. KKR’s top order has been doing well, but the middle order has not. Skipper Gautam Gambhir (37, 29 balls) got a decent knock, but this time, it was the middle order that took KKR home.
RCB were good with their batting. For a while, it seemed that their bowling attack was a tad better, and there was a chance. But with Pathan and Russell dispatching every other delivery into the stands, it was going to be tough.
It was a familiar story, both in terms of what the RCB batting lineup can do when it comes to getting runs, and also with Chris Gayle. Skipper Virat Kohli (52, 44 balls), KL Rahul (52, 32b) and Shane Watson (34, 21b) tore apart KKR’s bowling, and made the most of the batting-friendly wicket on offer.
It was once again a disappointing show from Gayle. After being absent for a couple of matches, the big-hitting West Indian was expected to fire this time. He didn’t, though. Kohli was dropped by Gambhir on 50 after he skied a delivery from Morne Morkel.
Brief scores: RCB 185/7 in 20 ovs (KL Rahul 52, V Kohli 52, S Watson 34; M Morkel 2/28, P Chawla 2/32) lost to KKR 189/5 in 19.1 ovs (G Gambhir 37, Y Pathan 60 n.o, A Russell 39; Y Chahal 2/27).