Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) whipped Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their opening match of the second leg of IPL 2021, recording a nine-wicket victory at Abu Dhabi on Monday.
On a pitch which held no demons, RCB fumbled inexplicably and folded for 92. KKR made short work of the chase, reaching the target in just 10 overs.
KKR opener Venkatesh Iyer (41 n.o., 27b, 7×4, 1×6), making his IPL debut, impressed with a couple of glorious drives off Mohammed Siraj in the opening over. Later in his knock, Iyer walked down the track to Kyle Jamieson and slammed the pacer for a stunning six.
Iyer’s opening partner Shubman Gill helped himself to a classy 34-ball 48.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli, playing his 200th IPL match, failed with the bat, falling leg-before to pacer Prasidh Krishna for five.
Devdutt Padikkal (22, 20b, 3×4) could not get going. The southpaw tried to glide a quick ball from Lockie Ferguson to third man, but ended up feathering it to ‘keeper Dinesh Karthik.
In a surprise move, RCB promoted wicketkeeper-batsman K.S. Bharat ahead of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers. The gamble failed, as Bharat struggled to raise the tempo. Padikkal and Bharat could not make use of the early fielding restrictions, scoring only 41 runs in the first six overs.
A frustrated Bharat (16, 19b, 1×4) skied a short ball from Andre Russell to square-leg.
De Villiers was sent back for a golden duck, courtesy a fiery yorker from Russell which thudded into the stumps.
Maxwell was uncharacteristically out of sorts. Finger spinner Sunil Narine had Maxwell in a bind, even as the Australian made futile switch hit attempts to break free. Maxwell was cleaned up for a 17-ball 10, swinging wildly across the line to a length ball from spinner Varun Chakravarthy.
The slow bowler struck in his very next delivery, trapping Sri Lankan Wanindu Hasaranga on the pads.
Chakravarthy nearly recorded a hat-trick, but his fierce leg-before appeal against Jamieson was turned down. Chakravarthy and Russell stood out with three wickets each.
WHAT THEY SAID
Virat Kohli (RCB captain): It was important to get a good partnership. We didn’t expect that much dew to kick in that early. This is a bit of a wake-up call. You can make the argument that we were rusty but as professionals you’re expected to turn up and adjust. Pretty good from Varun. He’s going to be a key factor when he plays for India.
Shubman Gill (KKR): We were determined to make a comeback and we did well in all departments. Hope we go forward and qualify for the playoffs. The plan was to get the net run-rate going. Iyer was batting well in the practice games as well, and to make a debut and perform so well, it was very pleasing to watch.