Bangalore, April 10 (IANS) Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) tasted their first victory in the fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) late Tuesday, trampling Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 42 runs in a tame game at the Chinnaswamy stadium here.
Chasing a modest target of 166 on home turf, RCB struggled to make 123 for nine wickets in 20 overs, as its top and middle order caved in to a fine spell of pace bowling by KKR’s Jacques Kallis and Lakshmipathy Balaji.
In contrast, coming into the game with two consecutive defeats, a defiant KKR reached 165 for eight wickets after its top order ripped through the pace-cum-spin attack of Zaheer Khan, Vinay Kumar, Muthaiah Muralitharan and skipper Daniel Vettori to post over 100 runs in 10.3 overs.
Though RCB came back into the game by restricting the marauding Knight Riders, who initially blazed all guns to scare the day lights out of Challengers, they failed to take advantage of a batting pitch and faced first defeat after winning over Delhi Daredevils by 20 runs in their opening league match Saturday.
Betting on the explosive opener Chris Gayle to set the stands on fire with sixes and fours, frenzied fans were stunned when he got out cheaply for eight to a beauty of Kallis.
All hopes on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in holding the fort and building a partnership to be in the chase were dashed as they too threw away their wickets without taking advantage of the power play in the first six overs.
Even a rearguard action by Saurab Tiwary (18), Vettori (20) and Vinay Kumar, who topped the team’s score with 25 on board, couldn’t help the tournament’s two-time finalists in reaching the target.
Man-of-the-match Balaji scalped four wickets, while Kallis and Bangladeshi Shakib Al Hasan shared two wickets and Ryan Ten Doeschate took the remaining one wicket.
Earlier, put to bat first, Kallis and skipper Gautam Gambir launched a blistering attack to post 60 runs in the first six overs, taking full advantage of the power play and ripped through the pace-cum-spin bowling of the host team even as a jam-packed watched the assault in awe.
If RCB thought they had a breakthrough by getting Kallis’ wicket, they were in for a shock when Manvinder Bisla joined Gambhir to blaze away all guns with three mighty sixes to enable the team post 100 runs in 10.3 overs.
But, as Bisla departed after hitting 46 in 29 balls and building a 65-run second wicket partnership with Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan followed quickly with just one run on board, stalling the robust run rate.
Even as Gambhir hoped his middle order would chip in to build a formidable score after hitting 64 in 39 balls, with nine boundaries and one six, the middle order collapsed like pack of cards, as Manoj Tiwary (2), Ryan Doeschate (3), Shakib Al Hasan (4) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (5) exited in succession.
While Zaheer, Vinay Kumar and Muralitharan shared two wickets each, Harshal Patel and Vettori took the remaining two wickets.
A small fire in the eastern stand of the stadium delayed the start of the match by 20 minutes.