Bengaluru: After a steady start the Royal Challengers Bangalore managed to put up a challenging 185 for seven in their Indian Premier League clash against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday.
Composed fifties from KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, followed by an explosive knocks from Shane Watson (34 off 21) and Sachin Baby (16 off 8) helped the Challengers reach a competitive total. Put into bat, the Challengers did not get the ideal start to the match. The Bengaluru crowd erupted as the flamboyant Chris Gayle walked out to the middle along with Rahul to open the innings for the home team. But the gamble that RCB took by including Gayle in the playing eleven backfired at the very outset.
The West Indian sent the crowd into raptures when he sent a Morne Morkel delivery straight over the bowler for a six. But that was all that the destructive batsman could manage as he was caught in the very next ball to bring his innings to an end.
But the dismissal of Gayle didn’t hamper RCB’s innings as Rahul (52 off 32) along with skipper Kohli (52 off 44) steadied the ship and kept turning the strike over diligently. Local lad Rahul gave the home fans a lot to cheer as he brought his fifty in style hitting it past third man for a boundary. The half-century studded with six fours and two sixes was more special for the opener as he completed a hat-trick of half-centuries in the IPL.
The duo’s smooth sailing partnership was brought to an end as Rahul sliced a Piyush Chawla delivery to deep cover, where Yusuf Pathan took an easy catch. The dismissal of Rahul slowed down RCB’s innings as AB de Villiers (4) went cheaply trapped leg before off Chawla to give KKR a strong hold on the match.
Kohli, who was dropped by Gambhir on 50, did not use the life-line handed by his opposite number as he was dismissed in the very next delivery, caught by Russell.
Though the home team lost a few wickets, Aussie all-rounder Watson along with Baby played cameos to power the hosts at the end. KKR pacer Umesh Yadav was the most expensive bowler on display leaking 56 runs in four overs with the lone wicket of Stuart Binny (16 off four balls) in his final over.
For the Knights, Piyush Chawla and Morne Morkel picked up two wickets each to keep the power house RCB batting unit under the lid during the middle phase....