AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell were on a roll in the afternoon scoring 154 out of 204 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore before Kyle Jamieson’s 3 wickets set up a comprehensive 38-run win against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai.
RCB have now won three out of three while KKR’s only win up until now was against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their opening game.
Virat Kohli finally won a toss against Eoin Morgan and opted to bat first in the first day game of IPL 2021 in Chennai.
But RCB’s start was far from ideal as Kohli himself was the first to depart in the 2nd over when Nitish Rana took a fantastic catch at point off Varun Chakravarthy. The Karnataka man cleaned up Rajat Patidar before the over ended, leaving RCB in a spot of bother at 9/2.
Even as Glenn Maxwell attacking from the get-go, starting with a rasping cut off Shakib Al Hasan, RCB opener Devdutt Padikkal kept the score board moving at the other end.
Maxwell did what he does best – play in a free scoring manner, cutting, pulling, reverse-sweeping with authority, finishing the powerplay with a 17 run over against Shakib.
Maxwell was particularly severe on the KKR spinners and along with Padikkal put on an 86-run stand in 9.1 overs, putting the pressure right back on Morgan and KKR.
The Australian completed his 50 off 28 deliveries, registering back-to-back fifties for the first time since 2014.
Padikkal however could not make the start count and was dismissed by his Karnataka teammate Prasidh Krishna for 25.
Maxwell, who was by now playing the kind of shots that wouldn’t be uncommon on a tennis court, was joined by AB de Villiers, who demolished KKR’s bowling in Sharjah last year.
The South African took a cautious approach as the Australian wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down at the other end.
ABD broke the shackles in the 15th over against Chakravarthy and then attacked Krishna too, smashing them for a couple of boundaries each. Maxwell added yet another maximum when he faced Chakravarthy as he marched on towards his first IPL century.
There would be no century for the Australian, who was dismissed on in the 17th over by Pat Cummins for a sensational 78 off 48 deliveries. His knock was laced with 9 fours and 3 sixes, putting RCB in a good position after the early wickets.
AB wasn’t about to slow down of course and took the attack to KKR’s bowling hero against Mumbai Indians – Andre Russell, smashing him for 17 runs in the 18th over.
Off the next over, AB completed his 50 of 27 deliveries after Kyle Jamieson got in the act with a couple of big hits too.
AB then went after Russell again, smashing him over his head for a six to start the penultimate over and then finished the innings with a similar stroke for a boundary as RCB crossed 200 and ABD remained unbeaten on 76. RCB finished with 204/4.
With backs to the wall and a quick start was a necessity from the KKR openers Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana.
Gill smashed Kyle Jamieson for a consecutive sixes before an attempted third led him to losing his wicket for 21 off 9 deliveries in the second over.
Rana and Rahul Tripathi tried to steady the ship and match the required run rate, adding 34 in 4 overs.
Tripathi scored 25 off 20 with 5 boundaries before Washington Sundar deceived him in flight and Mohammed Siraj completed the catch at square-leg as RCB struck again.
Rana was joined by Morgan but the opener could not kick on after an 11-ball-18 and departed when Yuzvendra Chahal struck, leaving KKR at 66/3 in the 7th over.
Dinesh Karthik followed soon after as he missed the line from Chahal and was trapped LBW for 2 in the 9th over.
Morgan and ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan steadied the ship with a 40-run partnership but failed to get any momentum going.
The captain fell prey to Harshal Patel’s guile and Kohli completed a simple catch at cover to reduce KKR to 114/5.
In walked Andre Russell, who has good memories against RCB, and waited all of 6 deliveries before he threw the kitchen sink at Chahal. A 20-run over in the 17th kept KKR in the hunt but Shakib’s dismissal in the next over against Jamieson for 26 meant the tie was on a knife-edge.
Pat Cummins hammered his first ball for a six of Jamieson, who then dismissed him off the next delivery to leave KKR at 161/7 in 18 overs.
It had to be Russell or no one for KKR and Kohli turned to Siraj, who bowled with great discipline and conceded just 1 run.
Needing 43 to win off the final over, Russell lost his wicket off the first delivery for 31 off 20 deliveries. Harbhajan Singh and Varun Chakravarthy could only add 4 more to the cause as KKR were handed a 38-run loss in Chennai.
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