Bangalore’s supremacy in the closing stages of KKR’s innings was all but undone by irresponsible batting during the chase.
BANGALORE: Skipper Gautam Gambhir 64 (39b, 9×4, 1×6) and man-of-the-match Lakshmipathy Balaji (four for 18) set up Kolkata Knight Riders’ first win of IPL-2012 as the visiting side smothered Royal Challengers Bangalore by 42 runs at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here, on Tuesday.
Bangalore skipper Daniel Vettori’s decision to field backfired as KKR openers – Gambhir and Kallis – raced off the blocks. The innings survived a stutter in the middle, as eight wickets fell for just 39 runs, but the hasty beginning ensured a competitive 165-8 for KKR.
Bangalore’s reply never took off. Cheteshwar Pujara began with a six off Brett Lee, but soon snicked Kallis to slip. The South African veteran struck a death blow when he got rid of Chris Gayle in the fourth over – the hulking West Indian top-edging a short delivery to mid-on.
Then it was time for Balaji to limber into action. The seamer broke RCB’s back by claiming a wicket in each of his four overs, getting rid of Virat Kohli, A.B. de Villiers, Mayank Aggrawal and Vettori, as the home team found itself virtually out of the contest at 60 for six in the 12th over. The reply concluded on 123-9, woefully short of the target.
Earlier, KKR built on two partnerships at the start of their innings after being sent in to bat. Gambhir and Kallis added 60 in 6.2 overs, picking regular boundaries off Zaheer Khan and Vinay Kumar to get the host moving. Gambhir was particularly severe on medium-pacer Harshal Patel, taking 15 from his first over, and followed it up with two exquisite fours – on either side of the wicket – off Zaheer.
Not to be left behind, Kallis greeted Muttiah Muralitharan with slog-swept six, as KKR reached 60 at the end of the mandatory Powerplay with both openers making it count in the middle. Vettori brought himself on and immediately had Kallis caught behind with one that came in.
Bisla (46, 29b, 2×4, 3×6) walked in and took over the scoring role from Gambhir, carting a six apiece off Vettori, Kohli and Harshal. Gambhir meanwhile had motored along, bringing up his fifty with a cover-driven four off Vinay, as KKR’s run-rate hovered in the vicinity of 10-an-over. At this point, a total of 200 looked on the cards, but RCB’s bowlers pulled things back admirably thereafter.
KKR lost eight wickets for 39 runs in the last 6 overs of its innings. Bisla led the procession, and Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Ryan ten Doeschate and Shakib al Hasan followed suit. Vinay was the pick of RCB’s bowlers as he conceded just five runs in his last two overs, finishing with figures of 4-0-18-2. However, Bangalore’s supremacy in the closing stages of KKR’s innings was all but undone by irresponsible batting during the chase.