Russell and Yusuf waylay Royal Challengers
Andre Russell and Yusuf Pathan mounted a stunning assault on Royal Challengers Bangalore’s beleaguered bowlers to help Kolkata Knight Riders to a five-wicket victory here on Monday.
The pair added 96 runs in 7.2 overs as KKR, chasing 186 for victory, sailed home with five balls to spare at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The result helped the visitors climb to second spot on the IPL table while RCB, condemned to a fifth loss, remained in seventh place.
When Russell and Pathan were united at the crease, KKR was in some trouble, needing 117 runs off 59 balls. But these are small boundaries. Defending a total here is hard enough at the best of times.
When Russell and Pathan, two immensely powerful strikers of the ball, get going, there is little hope for a fielding captain.
The Jamaican offered a stumping chance on 13, but K.L. Rahul, who earlier had entertained the crowd with his third straight half-century, spurned it. Tabraiz Shamsi, Varun Aaron and Shane Watson bled a total of 58 runs in the space of three overs as the contest effectively drew to a close.
Russell fell for 39 (24b, 1x4, 4x6) but Pathan remained unbeaten on 60 (29b, 6x4, 3x6). RCB’s bowlers will wonder what they can do now, their 19 extras a bleak contrast to KKR’s four.
Earlier, Rahul helped RCB regain ground after a ponderous start. Chris Gayle lasted all of seven balls on his comeback.
He played the first five patiently, swung the sixth — from Morne Morkel — over the sight-screen, and perished off the seventh, top-edging a short delivery from the South African. Morkel and Andre Russell bowled with control in the opening stages, limiting RCB to 30 in the first five overs.
Things improved as Rahul swung into action. Sunil Narine went for 10 in his first over and Piyush Chawla 15 in his second, Rahul clobbering the leg-spinner for a towering six.
The Karnataka batsman tucked into Narine again, sweeping him over the fine-leg boundary and next ball raising his fifty, off 29 balls, with a reverse-sweep for four. The West Indian had a bad day by his own standards, leaking 45 from his four overs.
Rahul fell chasing a wide one from Chawla, the end of an 84-run (58b) stand for the second wicket. A.B. de Villiers was out to the UP bowler not long after, trapped in front by a quicker delivery.
Having gone for 24 from his first two overs, Chawla recovered admirably, taking two for eight from the next two.
RCB was staring at a mediocre total until some quick runs from Shane Watson, Sachin Baby and Stuart Binny changed the colour of the innings. Fifty-four runs came off the last three overs, including 41 off two bowled by Umesh Yadav. His counterparts, though, would fare worse.