In a tense finish on Wednesday night, Dinesh Karthik held his nerve to see Royal Challengers Bangalore over the line with three wickets and four balls to spare at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Chasing 129, the former KKR captain and wicket-keeper batter came in with his side precariously placed at 101 for five with 29 still needed off the final four overs. Harshal Patel struck two boundaries off Venkatesh Iyer in the nineteenth over to bring the equation down to seven needed off the last over before Karthik pulled Andre Russell over deep backward square for a six and then drove him down the ground to seal Bangalore’s first victory in the IPL 2022.
That the game went down to the wire was testament to Umesh Yadav (2-16) and Tim Southee’s best bowling figures in the IPL (3-20) who struck at regular intervals to ensure the Knight Riders remained in the game. RCB were reeling at 17 for 3 in the third over before David Willey (18 off 28) joined hands with Sherfane Rutherford (28 off 40) to put on a 45-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Shahbaz Ahmed accelerated in the middle overs by striking three crucial sixes in a knock of 27 before Varun Chakravarthy had him stumped in the sixteenth over.
Earlier in the day, Wanindu Hasaranga’s 4-20 combined with Akash Deep’s 3-45 helped bowl out the Knight Riders for 128 in the penultimate over of the innings.
RCB’s new ball bowlers exploited the extra bounce off the surface to send back Ajinkya Rahane (9), Venkatesh Iyer (10) and Nitish Rana (10) inside the powerplay. If Rahane took on the short ball to pick out the man at deep backward square, Iyer and Rana fell in identical manner looking to pull the short ball from Akash Deep only to hole out inside the ring.
Hasaranga struck thrice to reduce the Knight Riders 67 for 6 in the ninth over. Sam Billings batted proactively against spin but eventually flat batted a pull straight to Virat Kohli at long-on off Patel. Playing his 400th T20, Russell flexed his muscle to hit three sixes and a boundary to top score with an 18-ball 25 before falling to Patel in the fourteenth over.
Umesh Yadav (18 off 12) had the next highest score and notched up the highest partnership of the innings in a stand of 27 runs with Chakravarthy for the last wicket. The duo struck four boundaries and a six between them to ensure the Knight Riders had a near-substantial total to bowl at with 128 on the board.