KKR eke out thrilling one-run win against RCB

NEW DELHI: Royal Challengers Bengaluru had some hope after Karn Sharma‘s improbable attack on Mitchell Starc in the final over, but the Kolkata Knight Riders held their composure to win their IPL match in Kolkata on Sunday by a thrilling one run off the final ball.
The Knight Riders had set a challenging 223 runs as the target, and the Royal Challengers needed 21 runs from left-arm pacer Starc’s final over.With Karn and Mohammed Siraj at the crease, the outcome appeared inevitable, but the former almost completely changed the course of the match.
Leg-spinner Karn, who has no genuine batting experience, hit three sixes off Starc to cut the lead to three runs off of two balls. RCB finished at 221 all out in 20 overs, but Starc made amends by making a return catch to dismiss Karn (20, 7b, 3×6), and Lockie Ferguson was run out on the final ball.
But in a game full of flips and turns, KKR had the early advantage thanks to opener Phil Salt‘s aggressive 14-ball 48 and captain Shreyas Iyer’s cool-headed 36-ball 50. KKR finished at 222 for six.
But the Royal Challengers were not bogged down by the imposing nature of their chase. Will Jacks (55, 32b; 4×4, 5×6) and Rajat Patidar (52; 23b, 3×4, 5×6) laid a fine foundation through a 102-run alliance for the third wicket that came off just 48 balls.
But from 137 for 2, RCB soon slipped to 155 for 6 with Andre Russell inflicting a double blow dismissing both Jacks and Russell inside three balls with his clever variation of slower balls.
Sunil Narine (2/34) also claimed two wickets in his final over to reduce RCB to 155 for six but Dinesh Karthik kept their hopes alive in a splendid partnership with Impact Sub Suyash Prabhudesai.
Returning to bowl in the penultimate over, Russell dismissed Karthik with a slower ball to make the equation tougher for RCB — 21 runs off six balls. Karn nearly dragged RCB over the line but the Eden Gardens night belonged to the Knights as they aced the final moments of a heart-stopper.
KKR now have five wins from seven matches and climbed to second spot with 10 points, two behind leaders Rajasthan Royals.
This was RCB’s sixth loss on the trot, and seventh in eight matches, as their campaign is as good as over, lying on 10th with just two points.
But RCB had their moments as Jacks was at his furious best against Starc, spanking him for 22 runs in an over en route his 29-ball fifty, his second in four matches.
Jacks’ show rubbed on Patidar who produced a 21-ball fifty, taking KKR’s best bowler Narine to cleaners as RCB maintained a run-rate over 12.
Virat Kohli began with a first-ball boundary and pulled Harshit Rana for a six in the first over before taking on Starc with disdain.
He backed away to a delivery on his legs to hammer it over fine-leg and the whole Eden was chanting ‘Kohli, Kohli’.
However, his inning was controversially ended when Rana made a return catch after Kohli was hit by what appeared to be a waist-high full toss.
Replays showed that the ball was dipping in its trajectory even though he was outside his crease when it struck, and the ruling was maintained.
Before leaving the field with his ire evident, Kohli engaged the on-field umpire in a heated conversation.
In the next over, Varun Chakravathy dismissed Faf du Plessis for a seven-ball seven.
Earlier, On a day when Narine (10, 15 balls) failed to get going, Salt, the world’s No. 2 T20I batter, was on fire smashing three sixes and seven fours to give KKR an explosive start, which later was exploited to the hilt by Iyer who hit seven fours and one six.
Andre Russell (27 not out, 20b) and Ramandeep Singh (24 not out, 9b) gave the home side some late impetus.
However, the under-fire RCB bowling unit made a spirited effort to reduce KKR to 75/3 at the end of power play, as KKR lost four wickets in 26 balls in that crucial middle-phase.
Venkatesh Iyer (16) and Rinku Singh (24) failed to convert their starts as RCB kept chipping away at the KKR batting order.
But Iyer held his nerves to produce his 20th IPL fifty, his first fifty this season, as KKR kept moving along.
He got out in the next ball after reaching 50 in 35 balls.
Russell’s 27 from 20 balls (4×4) was remarkably calm. At the Eden Gardens, it was Ramandeep Singh’s cameo of 24 off nine balls, including two fours and two sixes, that helped them reach their third consecutive 200+ score.
With his yorkers and wide yorkers, Siraj bowled well for his 1/40, while Cameron Green was the best bowler back for the RCB with a 2/35.
Although Yash Dayal too scored 2/56, he gave up one too many runs.
(With PTI inputs)

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