Kolkata Knight Riders conjured up a spin magic after Jason Roy’s sterling fifty as they snapped their four-match losing streak with a 21-win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, in Bengaluru on Wednesday. The English opener led the show with a 29-ball 56 as Kolkata Knight Riders batters fired in unison to notch up a fighting 200/5 after RCB captain Virat Kohli opted to bowl at their home den. But the spin duo of Varun Chakravarthy (3/24) and rookie Suyash Sharma (2/30) created a top-order mayhem, before Andre Russell (2/29) broke Kohli’s resistance to restrict RCB to 179 for eight.
Leading the side in absence of Faf Du Plessis, Kohli struck a 34-ball 54 and kept their hopes up in the 201-run chase after du Plessis (17) Glenn Maxwell (5) fell cheaply.
But all hell broke loose when Venkatesh Iyer took a game game-changing catch at deep midwicket boundary to dismiss Kohli, off Russell.
He dived to his left and rolled over but held the ball firmly as Kohli walked back in disbelief.
With 86 needed from 48 balls, it was left for Dinesh Karthik (22) to keep up their chase but Chakravarthy had the last laugh when he had the veteran RCB keeper-batter en route to his three-for, and it seemed all over for RCB.
KKR thus did a double on RCB, having beaten them in their season-opener by 81 runs.
The loss again proved RCB’s over-reliance on their Big Three — Kohli, Du Plessis and Maxwell.
Cruising at 30 for loss, RCB’s flying start was halted by the spin duo of Sharma and Chakravarthy who gave KKR a perfect start, sharing three wickets in between them inside the powerplay (58/3).
RCB’s regular skipper Fa du Plessis, who sat out only to be subbed as an Impact Player, looked at his ominous best when he smashed Umesh Yadav on both the sides of the wicket.
Kohli too was looking in full flow as the RCB opening duo feasted on the KKR pacers to start with.
With their trump card spinner Sunil Narine going wicketless in four matches, Rana banked fell back on their latest spin package Suyash Sharma.
It was a move that did the trick as the leggie grabbed the prized scalp of du Plessis with a wrong one and in his next over he trapped Shahbaz Ahmed (2).
Maxwell then got out to Chakravarthy for a second time in as many matches this season which left the RCB’s top-order in a disarray.
But there was no letting up from RCB as Mahipal Lomror showed his intent, giving Kohli a perfect support as the duo went about their way.
KKR finally got into the act with Roy setting tempo up front when he smashed five sixes and four boundaries as he and Narayan Jagadeesan (27; 29b) gave KKR their best ever start — 83 runs from 56 balls.
KKR’s batting came on either side of Sri Lankan legspin sensation Hasaranga’s two terrific bowling spells as he returned with 4-0-24-2 that caused enough flutter.
First, his miserly spell after the powerplay gave the impetus for Vyshak’s double blow when he dismissed Jagadeesan and Roy.
But Rana then ensured that they don’t lose the momentum as he made full use of his two reprieves — on five and 19 — to race to his 21-ball 48 (3×4, 4×6).
KKR’s new-found hero Rinku Singh (18 not out; 10b) then took charge as he smashed two fours and one six to ensure that they reach the 200-mark.
David Wiese smacked two sixes to make an unbeaten 12.
Roy showed KKR how it’s done in the powerplay, blazing his way to a 22-ball fifty, his second in a row to hand KKR their best ever start this season.
The Englishman showed his intent against the likes of RCB new ball bowlers and Mohammed Siraj and David Willey and unleashed his fury when leftarm spinner Ahmed was introduced in the last over of the powerplay.
Roy smoked him for four sixes in five balls in a 25-run over as KKR cruised to their highest powerplay score this season with 66 for no loss.
But all credit to Hasaranga for a tidy over after the powerplay where he conceded just two runs to mount pressure on the duo.
Vyshak and Harshal Patel too tightened the noose as boundaries suddenly dried up and it was all the more evident on the duo.
Struggling to get big hits, Jagadeesan was done in by a Vyshak bouncer, while Roy got a peach of a delivery from the uncapped Indian who got a perfect leg stump yorker to clean up the Englishman around his legs.
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