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KKR get their IPL campaign off to a blistering start

Kolkata Knight Riders won their opening match of Vivo IPL 2018 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens by 4 wickets on Sunday (April 9) night. It was KKR’s 4th win in the last 5 matches that they've played against RCB. Sunil Narine was the Man of the match for his match-winning 50 that came in just 17 balls.

RCB had a great start after they were asked to bat first by our skipper, Dinesh Karthik. Brendon McCullum started off in an aggressive fashion, scoring 14 runs off Vinay’s first over. Experienced leggie, Piyush Chawla got an early breakthrough dismissing Quinton de Kock. But that didn't stop Brendon McCullum, as he took RCB to 63 /1 in 8 overs before getting clean-bowled to Sunil Narine for 43.

With world's two most dangerous batsmen AB De Villiers and Virat Kohli in the middle, RCB had a chance to put up a strong total against the Knights. The duo shifted gears and started dealing in boundaries. Their 64 runs partnership took RCB to 121 for 2 in 14 overs, before a surprise bowling change from Captain, Dinesh Karthik saw Nitish Rana come into the attack and the move did wonders. Rana not only gave us a breakthrough but also sent AB de Villiers & Kohli back to the dugout in successive deliveries. This was only the third time that the duo have been dismissed in consecutive balls, with two of it coming against KKR.

Our Knights kept things tight in the middle overs before Mandeep Singh opened his arms. His late blitz of 37 in just 18 balls took RCB to a competitive 176 for 7 in 20 overs. Vinay Kumar picked up two wickets in the last over after conceding 16 runs in the first 3 balls.

Our Knights got off to a great start but were reduced to 16/1 initially with the wicket of Chris Lynn. It was Sunil Narine who took matters into his own hand. Batting to his reputation he wasted no time and scored 50 off just 17 balls, before getting out to Umesh Yadav. This was Narine’s second fifty against RCB, his last one coming in 15 balls. KKR were well ahead of the scoring rate after his dismissal. Robin Uthappa didn’t trouble the scorers much and was dismissed for 13. His wicket brought our skipper in the middle for the first time in purple and gold. A lot was expected from him, and he didn't disappoint a bit while anchoring the chase and allowed his partners to free their arms at the other end.

The hero of the first innings, Nitish Rana played some cracking shots as he went on to score 34 runs (in 25 balls) and stitched a crucial partnership of 55 runs with Dinesh Karthik. He was dismissed LBW off Sundar’s bowling and even the review couldn’t save him. Rinku Singh was making his debut in IPL but couldn't impress much with the bat and got out to a faint edge to QDK of Woakes, who set him with a series of bouncers. Russell was tested with some sharp bouncers by Umesh Yadav, but our Knight responded well and managed to get 15 runs from the same over.

While it looked all over for RCB at the end of 18th over, a dropped opportunity in the first ball of the 19th by Sundar at deep cover finished all the hopes of the visitors. Vinay Kumar hit the winning runs with Karthik remaining unbeaten on 35 in his debut match for KKR. Also, this was our sixth consecutive win in an IPL opening game and a 9th one in 10 opening games at Eden Gardens.

Our Knights will ride high on confidence as they face Chennai Super Kings in their next match on April 10 in Chennai.

Brief Scores: RCB 176/7 in 20 overs (Brendon McCullum 43 off 27, AB de Villiers 44 off 23, Rana 2/11 & Vinay Kumar 2/30) lost to KKR 177/6 in 18.5 overs (Sunil Narine 50 off 19, Dinesh Karthik 35* off 29, Umesh Yadav 2/27 & Chris Woakes 3/36)