Kolkata Knight Riders restarted their campaign in the second half of IPL 2021 with a resounding win against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday. A spirited bowling performance, followed by some clinical batting, helped KKR seal a 9-wicket win with 10 overs to spare. This was also KKR's biggest victory in IPL in terms of balls remaining.
Chasing a paltry 93 runs for their third win, KKR barely broke a sweat as debutant Venkatesh Iyer (41* off 27) and Shubman Gill (48 off 34) played fluently to see KKR romp home. Even though Gill got out just before the final few runs, the innings would give him a lot of confidence going into the tournament's remaining matches. Iyer, on the other hand, looked in great form too as he played an array of strokes.
View this post on Instagram
Losing the toss perhaps came as a blessing to KKR as the wicket played a bit slower in the first half. The men in Purple and Gold took advantage of the sluggish turf and kept mounting pressure on Virat Kohli's men with regular wickets. Kohli, who was playing his 200th IPL match, fell prey to Prasidh Krishna's magic. One that angled in trapped Kohli before the wickets and even though he went for the review, there wasn't a way out for the skipper.
Varun Chakaravarthy (3-13), Lockie Ferguson (2-24) and Andre Russell (3-9) were breathing fire with the ball. The trio not only accounted for crucial wickets in the middle overs, but also kept the run flow under control with tight spells.
After Kohli's departure, a lot was expected from the likes of Devdutt Padikkal, Genn Maxwell and Ab de Villiers. However, the KKR bowlers never let any of the batters settle in. Padikkal fell to Ferguson's mastery for 22 runs. The Kiwi mixed his length brilliantly to deceive the southpaw. Chakaravarthy, the star bowler of the night, accounted for the big-hitter Maxwell (10). The mystery spinner frustrated Maxwell with dot balls and eventually the Aussie batsman paid the price, losing his wicket while trying to play a big shot. Varun was also the man behind debutant Wahindu Hasaranga's fall and Kyle Jamieson's run out.
The biggest wicket of the night perhaps came in form of De Villiers. Russell, the dangerous man, plucked out the most lethal batsman in the RCB ranks for a golden duck with a dreamy yorker.
Talking about the performance KKR skipper Eoin Morgan said, "Very rarely do you perform as well as we have today. The talent we have within our squad, it counts for nothing, you have to still go out and show how strong you are and we did today."
KKR will play Mumbai Indians next on September 23rd at Abu Dhabi in another evening encounter.