IPL 2018: All-round KKR overwhelms RCB

The Kolkata Knight Riders, led by Dinesh Karthik, impressed with both bat and ball to register its first win in the IPL.

Narine starred with the bat for the home team.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

Dinesh Karthik had an impressive start to his IPL captaincy as Kolkata Knight Riders downed Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.

Karthik remained unbeaten on 35 after Sunil Narine had thrashed the visitor out of contention with a belligerent 19-ball half-century.

Put in to bat, Royal Challengers Bangalore reached 176 for seven. KKR, however, made light work of the total as it got there in 18.5 overs.

Narine, who has been under the scanner for a suspected bowling action, redeemed himself once again in the role of a pinch-hitter. In his brief stay, Narine produced five sixes and four boundaries, ensuring KKR reduced the deficit in the ‘power-play’.

The Windies spinner, however, perished in the sixth over with Umesh Yadav getting the breakthrough. KKR's newest recruit Nitish Rana, whose one-over bowling spell took the fight out of the visitor’s batting earlier in the day, came up with a stroke-filled 34 in a 55-run fourth wicket partnership with Karthik, virtually seeing the host past the winning line.

Earlier, the Royal Challengers batting sparkled but failed to explode thanks to a clever change in bowling by Karthik, who introduced part-timer Rana just as Virat Kohli and A.B. De Villiers were starting to flex their muscles.

With the spin trio of Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Narine failing to make inroads, Rana’s introduction suddenly tipped the scale in the host’s favour.

Rana scalped RCB’s two best batsmen - de Villiers (44) and Kohli (31) - in successive deliveries in the 15th over after the duo had stitched together 64 runs.

This happened after Brendon McCullum had hammered 43 off 27 balls (6x2, 4x6) to set the tone at the top. McCullum, who scored the first century (158) of the IPL in 2008 - while making his debut for KKR - produced glimpses of his initial knock.