A brilliant century partnership between superstars Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers stole the show yesterday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and led the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a comfortable nine wicket win over Gautam Gambhir's men.
Batting first, Kolkata finished on 183. Gambhir and Manish Pandey scored half-centuries and laid the foundation while Andre Russel smacked a 19-ball 39 towards the end to up the tempo. Shakib Al Hasan joined in the fun towards the death overs as well with an 11-ball 18 with one six and one four to help Kolkata cross the 180-mark.
While it initially seemed enough, some brilliant batting from both Kohli and De Villiers, meant that the game was out of Kolkata's hands.
After the exchange, Bangalore raced to 71 for no loss courtesy of Chris Gayle's 31-ball 49. He was however, trapped in front by Sunil Narine in the eighth. De Villiers joined Kohli and that was it for Kolkata. De Villiers though was a bit fortunate. Shakib managed to induce an edge of the South African in the eleventh over which Gambhir dropped at point. It was a catch that should have been taken.
However, after that the momentum changed and the duo took it away from there. Kohli continued his brilliant run and hit 75 runs off 51 balls. He scored five fours and three sixes and the best part about it was that he remained unbeaten.
De Villiers, in similar fashion finished unbeaten on 59, which he scored off 31 balls. He too, like Kohli hit three sixes and five fours. The 115-run stand for the second wicket absolutely crushed Kolkata's hopes.
Kohli's knock took his overall tally to 752 runs and he is easily the highest run-getter of the tournament. He has scored that at an average of 83.55. The second highest is Kohli's teammate De Villiers who now has 597 runs to his name at an average of 59.70.
With these two players going great guns, every team in the IPL will want to avoid the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
SCORES IN BRIEF
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: 183 for 5 (Gambhir 51, Pandey 50, Russel 39 not out, Shakib 18 not out; Aravind 2-41, Iqbal 1-22)
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: 186 for 1 (Kohli 75, AB de Villiers 59; Narine 1-34)
Result: Bangalore won by nine wickets.