Jubilation: KKR waltzed to an 81-run win over RCB to open its account in IPL 2023. KKR spinners took nine wickets between them to strangle a wobbly RCB batting lineup.
Eye on the target: Virat Kohli has started IPL 2023 on a blazing note, his unbeaten 49-ball 82 powering Royal Challengers Bangalore to an eight-wicket win over Mumbai Indians. Kohli loves batting at Eden Gardens, where he even has one IPL hundred. Kohli also has an enviable T20 record against KKR quicks Umesh Yadav, against whom he has scored 150 off 85 and Shardul Thakur, who has conceded 67 off 42.
Warm-ups: Royal Challengers Bangalore players limbering up ahead of their second IPL 2023 match against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Last time the two teams met in Kolkata, Kohli struck a 58-ball 100 and RCB won by 10 runs.
Faf calls it right: Royal Challengers Bangalore won the toss and elected to field. Teams have preferred chasing at the Eden Gardens, especially with the dew playing a big role. RCB had one forced change with David Willey replacing the injured Reece Topley. One change for KKR as well, with Anukul Roy making way for Suyesh Sharma.
Fans’ evening out: RCB fans cheering for their team during the IPL 2023 group game against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. Kolkata has been in festive mood as it hosts its first IPL match in four years. In celebrations, the iconic Howrah Bridge went purple to welcome KKR back to its home base.
Bellwether of good times: KKR spinner Sunil Narine rang the opening bell before the match. Narine's playing his 150th match for KKR. Among the players to represent only one team in the IPL, Narine will be the third to complete 150 games. He also has the most wickets for KKR in IPL, a staggering 153 at an economy rate of under 7.
SRK in the house: Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan waves at the fans during his team's home game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta are the other co-owners of KKR, which has won two IPL titles. The franchise was bought for approximately Rs 262.5 crore in 2008.
Double whammy: England and RCB quick David Willey removed Venkatesh Iyer and Mandeep Singh off successive balls. Willey castled Iyer with one that seamed in sharply before clean bowling Mandeep with a scrambled seam delivery. Willey started his spell with a double-wicket maiden.
Afghan power: Afghanistan and KKR opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz provided the silver lining with the bat. KKR was 47 for 3 in 6.1 overs, but Gurbaz remained unfazed. He punished errors in length and, after nine overs, had scored 47 of the 71 runs KKR had made. Gurbaz reached his 50 with a six — first Afghan player to hit an IPL fifty — off just 38 balls. He eventually fell for 57.
Karn Sharma of Royal Challengers Bangalore celebrating the wicket of Rahmanullah Gurbaz of Kolkata Knight Riders during match 9 of the Tata Indian Premier League between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers Bangalore held at the Eden Gardens Stadium, Kolkata, on the 6th April 2023 Photo by: Saikat Das / SPORTZPICS for IPL
Lording it at Eden: Chants of “KKR, KKR, KRR!” reverberated across the Stadium as Shardul Thakur smashed his maiden IPL fifty, off just 20 balls. It is also the joint-fastest of the season along with Rajasthan Royals opener Jos Buttler. Thakur was dismissed for 68 off 29 balls.
Sizzling stand: Rinku Singh's 33-ball 46 was the perfect foil to Shardul Thakur's onslaught. The 103-run sixth-wicket stand saved KKR from a precarious position and helped the host set RCB a daunting target of 205.
Trial by spin: Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis got RCB’s chase off to a flying start before the introduction of spin accounted for both openers. While Sunil Narine clean bowled Kohli, getting him out for the fourth time in IPL, Varun Chakravarthy accounted for du Plessis.
You miss, I hit: With the asking rate nearing 12 an over, Varun Chakravarthy clean bowled the dangerous Glenn Maxwell with a googly before cleaning up the promoted Harshal Patel with a similar delivery. RCB was reeling at 4 for 54 in 7.4 overs. Chakravarthy’s figures at one stage: 2-0-6-3
Hogging the limelight: Suyash Sharma, the 19-year-old KKR leggie, had a memorable debut when he dismissed Anuj Rawat and Dinesh Karthik in the same over to seal RCB’s fate.
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