Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) survived an Andre Russell scare as it managed to eke out a 10-run win against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Chasing a stiff 214-run target, Kolkata was in all sorts of trouble as it was reeling at 79 for the loss of four wickets.
However, Russell changed the complexion of the game with an exhilarating 25-ball 65 (2*4, 9*6) and in the process registered the second fastest fifty in this year's IPL.
Nitish Rana played a perfect foil with a 46-ball 85 (9*4, 5*6) as the duo injected life into the chase with a defiant 118-run stand off 48 balls. But, at the end, it was Bangalore who prevailed in a thriller.
Earlier, like a master storyteller scripting stories of varied colours, Virat Kohli manufactured another match winning hundred of a different shade.
Kohli's fifth IPL century catapulted RCB to 213 for three, its highest aggregate of the season, before the touring side managed to blunt KKR's late charge, led by Russell and Rana.
Kohli's gritty innings had two distinct parts. He stayed put through a scratchy start, highlighted by a few edges falling short of fielders and others running to the boundary, before savaging the home attack to the best of his ability.
Apart from smilingly grabbing the freebies, Kohli ran hard between the wickets to help RCB's aggregate inch forward.
Following the departure of Parthiv Patel in the fourth over, Kohli's 31-ball 41 run stand with Akshdeep Nath shielded RCB from pressure.
Russell captured Nath in the ninth over to tighten KKR's grip, but Kohli formed another invaluable 90-run partnership off only 43 balls with Moeen Ali (66 off 28) to switch the momentum in favour of the visitor.
For a change Kohli took the back seat, while Moeen displayed his clean hits to plunder five fours and six sixes, four of them on the onside, and upset KKR's plans.
The English all-rounder was severe on a clueless Kuldeep Yadav, who gave away 27 runs – including three sixes and two fours – in his last over.
Kohli took charge of the RCB pyrotechnics after Moeen's fall and virtually robbed the match away from KKR's grasp by playing some top class shots.
The RCB captain, who made his first fifty off 40 deliveries, notched the second half of the century in just 17 balls, studded with five fours and three sixes.
Kohli, who ruled all over the park to make the 60,000 spectators change loyalty, hit Harry Gurney for a four on the leg side to score his first hundred of the season in the penultimate ball of the RCB innings before holing out to Shubman Gill at deep mid-wicket.
Dale Steyn, returning to RCB after nine years, swung the ball impressively to dismiss Chris Lynn and Gill as KKR was reduced to to 33 for three in the fifth over.
After the fall of Robin Uthappa, Rana and Russell kept KKR on track.
With Rana and Russell bludgeoning the ball at will, fours and sixes rained from both ends. However, the duo could not help KKR overhaul the stiff target.
- India vs Australia Highlights 2nd T20: All-round India beats Australia by 44 runs, takes 2-0 series lead
- I League 2023-24: Gokulam Salvages a draw against Churchill Brothers
- Ducati’s Bagnaia wins Valencia GP to defend MotoGP title, Jorge Martin crashes
- ISL 2023-24: Bengaluru FC held to frustrating 1-1 draw by NorthEast United in Guwahati
- Kumar Kushagra from Jharkhand bats for a spot in the Indian Premier League