Royal Challengers Bangalore’s lack of batting depth stood exposed yet again as it succumbed to a 21-run loss against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday. For KKR, it was a much-needed win that broke a sequence of four successive defeats.
Chasing 201, Virat Kohli played a lone hand, slashing and pulling his way to his fifth half-century of the season (54, 37b, 6x4). Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell were out cheaply, and the likes of Mahipal Lomror, Shahbaz Ahmed and Suyash Prabhudessai, on whom the think-tank had placed much faith, failed to come good.
Lomror did show some spark (34, 18b, 1x4, 3x6), even hitting Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy for a combined three sixes. The 55-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Kohli did raise the hopes of the home faithful.
But their dismissals in a span of four balls proved it was another false dawn. Lomror was caught at deep mid-wicket off Varun (4-0-27-3) while Kohli holed out in the same area, with Venkatesh Iyer completing a fine low catch off Andre Russell.
Earlier, asked to bat first, KKR managed 66 runs in the PowerPlay, largely due to two big overs. David Willey went for 17 in the fourth before Jason Roy (56, 29b, 4x4, 5x6) hammered left-arm spinner Shahbaz for four sixes in the sixth, all in the arc between long-on and square leg. The Englishman would complete his half-century from just 22 balls.
But from a healthy position, KKR struggled, scoring a solitary boundary in the next five overs and losing both its openers to V. Vyshak. Jagadeesan holed out at deep mid-wicket while Roy was bowled around his legs.
However, in Venkatesh (31, 26b, 3x4) and skipper Nitish Rana (48, 21b, 3x4, 4x6), KKR found the men for the rebuild, with the duo combining for 80 runs (44b). RCB didn’t help itself by dropping Rana twice – on five by Siraj at long-off and on 19 by Harshal Patel at fine-leg – and the southpaw made the host pay.
The 29-year-old clubbed Harshal for back-to-back sixes behind square on the leg-side to bring up KKR’s 150 and then smashed Vyshak for two fours and a six. Wanindu Hasaranga (4-0-24-2) stopped the bleeding temporarily, sending back both Rana and Venkatesh in the 18th over.
But Rinku Singh and David Wiese helped KKR to 200, with 50 runs being scored from overs 17 to 20, a cushion that eventually proved more than adequate.
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