ANDRE Russell and Varun Chakravarthy took three wickets apiece to kick-start Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) faltering IPL campaign as they rolled Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) over for just 92.
KKR, who lost five games out of six before the tournament was suspended in May, reignited their play-off chances with a totally dominant display, sealing a resounding nine-wicket win in Abu Dhabi with 10 overs to spare.
All-rounder Russell (3-9) and spinner Chakravarthy (3-13) scythed through the Bangalore batting line-up in 19 overs as they stumbled to the lowest total of the tournament so far.
Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer shared an opening stand of 82 from 55 balls to ensure KKR cruised to a much-needed victory, climbing to fifth in the table as well as ruining Challengers captain Virat Kohli’s 200th IPL appearance
Kohli won the toss and strode out to open the batting alongside Devdutt Padikkal – but his innings lasted only four balls as he shuffled across and was lbw to Prasidh Krishna, using up a review to no avail.
RCB struggled to gain traction in the powerplay, although Padikkal (22 from 20) was just beginning to find some rhythm when he tried to cut a ball too close to him from Lockie Ferguson (2-24) and feathered it behind.
Having been 41-1, Royal Challengers’ middle order crumbled dramatically as Russell had Srikar Bharat (16) caught in the deep before unfurling an unplayable fast yorker that castled AB de Villiers for a first-ball duck.
Glenn Maxwell – who, along with de Villiers, had batted KKR out of the game during the sides’ first meeting – looked visibly frustrated as he gave Chakravarthy the charge and was bowled.
Debutant Wanindu Hasaranga departed lbw to Chakravarthy’s next ball – and the leg-spinner implored Morgan to review after his hat-trick delivery hit Kyle Jamieson on the pad, but the hint of an inside edge persuaded the captain otherwise.
However, Chakravarthy went on to collect his third wicket, as well as running out Jamieson with a deft touch onto the stumps and, despite a couple of late boundaries by Harshal Patel, Russell completed the demolition job with a full over unused.
KKR set about the chase in aggressive fashion as Gill pummelled Jamieson for two crunching fours on the off side, while newcomer Iyer took his cue from his opening partner, drilling Mohammed Siraj for successive boundaries.
Iyer then advanced down the track to dispatch the hapless Jamieson over mid-on for the first six of the match – which, surprisingly, had taken 24 overs to arrive.
The pair raced to 50 inside the powerplay, with Gill swinging Yuzvendra Chahal to the fence to reach that landmark and it was purely a question of how quickly the Knight Riders could wrap up victory.