IPL 2024: Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer help KKR to easy 7-wicket win over RCB despite Kohli’s 83* (Ld)

Sunil Narine hammered a 22-ball 47 and Venkatesh Iyer struck an electrifying half-century for Kolkata Knight Riders after their bowlers

Bengaluru, March 29 (IANS) Sunil Narine hammered a 22-ball 47 and Venkatesh Iyer struck an electrifying half-century for Kolkata Knight Riders after their bowlers came up with a decent performance to restrict Royal Challengers Bengaluru, propelled by Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 83, and set up a seven-wicket win that broke the trend of home-team wins in the Indian Premier League 2024, at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Friday.

After Narine set the tone for KKR with a blazing innings on a pitch that had eased out in the second innings with the dew too playing a role, Venkatesh (50) and Shreyas (39 not out) ensured KKR won with a bit of gas still in the tank.

It was an emphatic victory for KKR as they won with 19 balls to spare and maintained their domination of Royal Challengers Bengaluru at the Chinnaswamy, winning their sixth successive match at RCB’s home. This is their second win in as many matches this season. KKR thus moved to the second spot on the points table behind Chennai Super Kings. RCB suffered their second defeat in three games and how they lost will leave them disappointed.

It was the bowlers, led by Andre Russell and Harshit Rana, that came up with a super performance as KKR used the short-of-the-length off-cutters to restrict RCB to 182/6 boosted by a superb unbeaten 83 by Kohli, who batted through the innings. Russell bagged 2-29 and Rana bagged 2-39 as KKR used the conditions well. Narine claimed 1-40 in his four overs. For RCB, Cameron Green and Dinesh Karthik contributed breezy cameos and with Kohli anchoring the innings, hitting four boundaries and four maximums, RCB recovered well to put up a decent total. Andre Russell was the best KKR bowler with 2-29.

Chasing 183, KKR came out firing on all cylinders with West Indies all-rounder Sunil Narine hammering 47 off 22 balls in his 500th T20 game while Phil Salt contributed a 20-ball 30.

With Salt and Narine going great guns, Kolkata Knight Riders blazed to 85 runs in the Power-play, leaving the RCB bowling unit shell-shocked. Narine started the carnage as he blazed five sixes and two boundaries, starting from the first over itself. Salt kept up the scoring rate as he struck two fours and two sixes to provide good support to Narine.

Narine had not scored much in the last few matches but made the occasion count as he unleashed the power and smashed the ball to all corners of the ground. Pacers Mohammed Siraj, Yash Dayal, and Alzarri Joseph faced the burnt of their assault. Joseph conceded 34 runs off two overs while Siraj gave away 46 off three and Dayal finished with 1-46 off four overs. Narine was the first to go as he was bowled by Mayank Dagar with a superb yorked on off-stump that crashed into the base of the stump. Salt departed soon, caught by Cameron Green off Vijaykumar Vyshak, who was the best RCB bowler on the night as he finished with 1-23 off four overs.

Down 92/2, KKR were in a spot of bother, but Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer came together to raise 74 runs for the third wicket, with Iyer doing the bulk of the scoring. He scored 50 off 30 balls, despite being hampered by back trouble, as he struck three boundaries and four maximums. Shreyas gave him good company, scoring 39 off 24 balls. Venkatesh, who blasted a 106m six during his innings, was out in the 16th over as he tried to hit Yash Dayal out of the ground but managed only to find Virat Kohli at the cow corner, dragging the shot as Dayal cut the pace and picked short of length outside off-stump.

Earlier, asked to bat first, RCB lost their skipper Faf du Plessis for a mere 8 runs. However, Kohli and Green played with authority in the Power-play, the dynamic duo added 65 runs for the second wicket, with Green falling prey to Sunil Narine after scoring 33 runs. Just when it seemed like RCB was set for a massive total, Narine struck, dismissing the dangerous Green. The momentum swung slightly in KKR’s favour, but Kohli stood tall, anchoring the innings with his masterful strokeplay.

Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Kohli continued to pile on the runs, reaching yet another fifty in his illustrious career. However, the KKR fielders were not at their sharpest, dropping Glenn Maxwell twice, providing crucial lifelines to the RCB batsman.

Maxwell, however, failed to capitalise on these chances and departed after a breezy cameo, scoring 28 in 19 deliveries. With Rajat Patidar and Anuj Rawat departing for three each, the onus was on Kohli to stay in the middle and guide RCB to a competitive total. He did that and found an able partner in Dinesh Karthik, the seasoned campaigner, who once again proved his mettle in the dying overs. With a blazing 20 in 8 deliveries, Karthik propelled RCB past the 180-run mark, ensuring a challenging target for KKR. Kohli and Dinesh Karthik’s late surge helped Bengaluru finish on a high note. He and Kohli scored 29 runs in the final two overs as Bengaluru reached 182 runs.

But in the end, with the wicket easing out a bit and the dew sitting in, KKR batted superbly to seal a convincing victory.

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bengaluru 182/6 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 83 not out, Cameron Green 33; Andre Russel 2-29, Harshit Rana 2-39) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 186/3 in 16.5 overs (Sunil Narine 47, Venkatesh Iyer 50, Shreyas Iyer 39 not out; Vijaykumar Vyshak 1-23) by seven wickets.

–IANS

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