A sublime century from Indian captain Virat Kohli has seen the Royal Challengers Bangalore seal their second win of the Indian Premier League season, earning a 10-run victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Sitting bottom of the IPL ladder, the Royal Challengers’ day threatened to be a long one, with the Knight Riders winning the toss and opting to field first.
Already without South African star AB de Villiers, Bangalore lost opener Parthiv Patel in the fourth over, caught by Nitish Rana off the bowling of Sunil Narine for 11. Their cause wasn’t helped when Akshdeep Nath was the next batsman to fall, gone for 13 with the scores at 59/2 in the ninth over.
However, Nath’s dismissal saw England’s Moeen Ali join Kohli at the crease, with the pair cashing in on some poor Kolkata bowling.
The duo added 90 runs in 43 balls, Ali reaching his half-century from just 24 balls with four fours and four sixes. At the other end, Kohli played the anchor role, reaching his 50 from 40 balls.
Once Ali was dismissed for 66, Kohli went into overdrive, his second 50 runs coming in just 17 balls, reaching his century off the second to last ball of the innings, falling for 100 as the Royal Challengers posted 213/4 from their 20 overs.
Kolkata’s response was nothing short of lackluster. Australian Chris Lynn was the first to fall, caught by Kohli off the bowling of South Africa’s Dale Steyn. Kohli and Steyn would combine again, removing India’s Shubman Gill for nine.
Regular wickets would see Kolkata wobbling at 79/4, bringing West Indian master-blaster Andre Russell to the middle to join Rana.
The pair then threatened to pull off a remarkable victory, adding 118 runs in just 48 balls, Russell showing no mercy to reach 50 off just 21 balls, with two fours and seven sixes. Rana backed up Russell at the other end, reaching his half-century from 33 balls.
The onslaught left Kolkata needing 24 from the final over, with Russell dispatching the third ball into the stands for six, leaving the equation at 17 runs needed from three balls.
Having starred with the bat, Ali kept his nerve with the ball, restricting Russell, before the all-rounder was run out off the penultimate delivery, gone for 65 from 25 balls.
Rana would finish the innings with a six, unbeaten with 85 from 46 balls, however, it wasn’t enough to prevent Bangalore’s 10-run win.
The victory sees Bangalore make up ground on the Rajasthan Royals at the foot of the IPL table, while Kolkata appears destined for a mid-table finish, currently sitting sixth after nine games played and two points off the play-off zone.