After the fall of KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir in the ninth over, the crowd went berserk and Royal Challengers Bangalore players celebrated wildly. Virat Kohli’s bowling changes, bringing in spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, Srinath Aravind and Stuart Binny looked brilliant. The three changes had given him three important wickets – Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn and Gambhir.
But the brute striking power of Yusuf Pathan (60 no off 29 balls) and Andre Russell (39 off 24), who batted for 45 balls together, ruined everything for the hosts. It sealed KKR’s fifth win by five wickets on Monday.
The duo put on 96 runs and snatched the game from the hosts. When six overs were left, KKR needed 81 runs. But thanks to Russell, who collected 18 runs off spinner Tabraiz Shamsi’s over, and then Pathan, who blasted Shane Watson for 24 runs in the 17th over, brought the equation down to 23 off 18 balls. Kohli’s trusted bowlers again proved guilty.
KL Rahul had scored a fifty and laid a solid foundation, but before Watson and Shamsi became the victims of Russell’s and Pathan’s brutal hitting, Rahul, the makeshift keeper, missed Russell’s stumping off Yuzhvendra Chahal in the 14th over. Russell was on 13 but after he got a reprieve, he went berserk and clobbered the RCB bowling. It saw another of his half-centuries go down the drain.
It was the second time in this edition that Pathan has come into his elements. He had played a quick-fire innings of 36 in 27 balls against Rising Pune Supergiants. The situation was similar in Pune as well as KKR had lost the first three wickets for 60 and Pathan guided KKR out of danger. RCB too experienced that fury as he helped finish the game with five balls to spare.
Equal credit to Russell, who not only batted sensibly alongside Pathan, but also bowled three overs with the new ball to contribute to KKR’s victory. He gave away just 11 runs, ensuring that RCB could score only 40 runs in the first six overs, their lowest in the powerplay overs so far. Though RCB made up in the end by collecting 73 runs in the last five overs, once again, it was their bowling that couldn’t fire as a unit.