IPL 2019: Andre Russell special stuns RCB

Andre Russell scored an unbeaten 48 off 13 balls as Kolkata Knight Riders handed Royal Challengers Bangalore its fifth successive defeat in IPL 2019.

An elated Andre Russell punches the air after clinching a thrilling win for KKR.   -  PTI Photo

That partnership between Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers finally clicked as Royal Challengers Bangalore scored what looked to be a winning total of 205 runs in its 20 overs. Its bowlers then kept the team in the game by chipping away with wickets. RCB was on course to finally taste success in IPL 2019 with Kolkata Knight Riders needing 54 runs off the last three overs, but it didn’t take the dangerous Andre Russell (48* off 13 balls) into consideration. 

Highlights: Russell's carnage in KKR win

The onslaught began with a six off a no ball. A six over long-on followed in the next legitimate ball and the next ball sailed over long-off -- Russell had changed the equation to 30 runs off 12 balls. He got even more ruthless in the next, hitting four sixes and a boundary to seal a five-wicket win for KKR with five balls to spare. This was RCB's fifth successive loss in this season.

Four dropped catches

Chris Lynn, living on borrowed life after being dropped on 1 by Navdeep Saini, got another chance when Mohammed Siraj failed to latch on to a skier from the Australian when he was on 43. But Pawan Negi limited the damage by castling him the next over.

That wicket tilted the scales a bit as KKR, which stayed ahead of the required over-rate until then, began to take it slow as Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal conceded just three and six runs respectively to pull things back for RCB. 

Nitish Rana was dropped on 35 by Siraj off Chahal, but the bowler was able to induce the batsman into playing another aerial shot, this time into the safe hands of substitute Heinrich Klaasen.

How Russell turned the tables on RCB

Dinesh Karthik, too, was lucky to stay alive after he successfully reviewed an lbw decision. A whisker of a gap between the bails and the ball above gave him another chance. He would soon be dropped by Kohli -- a tough chance -- but there wasn’t a third chance as Chahal pouched the ball near the fence line. But Russell was there to come and take the team past the finish line once again.

Earlier in the day, Kohli, yet to contribute significantly to RCB’s cause, began his innings in top gear. He sent the first ball he faced for a perfectly timed boundary through the covers. The second was a copy, though not as sweetly connected as the first, but the end result was the same. Parthiv Patel, too, began well, scoring a boundary to kick off the innings for RCB as opening bowler Prasidh Krishna went for 13 runs.

A night to forget for Mohammed Siraj

Dinesh Karthik kept changing the bowlers in search of wickets, with all-rounder Nitish Rana finally getting the breakthrough in the eighth over. After Sunil Narine dropped Kohli on 35 off his bowling, Rana got rid of Parthiv for 25, leg-before wicket. 

Kohli took a particular liking to Lockie Ferguson, striking three boundaries to cross the 8000-run mark in T20s, becoming the second batsman after Raina to reach the milestone. A six and a boundary was dutifully dispatched in the next Ferguson over, with de Villiers too joining the party by then.

De Villiers gave the crowd what it craved for since the start of the season -- a solid, stroke-filled and exciting partnership with skipper Kohli to help RCB post a challenging total. He scored at will against Prasidh, Narine and hit Russell a dose of his own medicine, hitting him for two mighty sixes in the 14th over. 

Moments: Russell mania to Siraj slip ups

At the end of 17 overs, RCB was 171 for the loss of one wicket but Kuldeep and Narine put the brakes with some tight bowling and getting the crucial wickets of Kohli and de Villiers in the subsequent overs. First, Kohli drove straight into the hands of Kuldeep and fell after scoring a sublime 84. De Villiers followed soon the next over, attempting an inside-out six off Narine and offering a simple catch to Shubman Gill near the boundary line.

The 18th and 19th overs yielded only 15 runs and cost the host the wickets of two well-set batsmen. But Marcus Stoinis punished a listless Prasidh in the final over to help RCB to 205/3 in 20 overs. The Karnataka seamer finished with figures 41/0 off three overs on a forgettable day at his homeground.