IPL: Knight Riders complete stunning turnaround

Despite half-centuries from Kohli and Rahul, KKR fought back to secure a five wicket win to keep their tournament hopes alive.

IPL: Knight Riders complete stunning turnaround
The Knight Riders lower order batsmen took control of the game away from the Bangalore bowlers | Photo: BCCI

Despite having looked dead and buried, an enormous partnership between Andre Russell and Yusuf Pathan meant that the Kolkata Knight Riders could complete a remarkable turnaround.

Rahul and Kohli propel Bangalore to 185

Chris Gayle's return to the competition following the birth of his daughter meant that a top order change was required for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Virat Kohli was the man to have been moved out of the openers spot with Lokesh Rahul keeping his spot at the top of the order. 

KKR celebrate as dangerman Gayle is dismissed | Photo: IPL
KKR celebrate as dangerman Gayle is dismissed | Photo: BCCI

Gayle's return was unspectacular with the West Indies batsman top-edging a pull shot to Robin Uthappa off the bowling of Morne Morkel for just 6 runs. Kohli continued his good form however with another half-century as he reclaimed the Orange Cap taking his run total for the competition to 433. Rahul also continued his form as he scored his third successive half-century to give RCB a solid base to build from.

AB de Villiers struggled in his innings and could only make 6 runs from his 8 deliveries before he was trapped LBW by the leg-spin of Piyush Chawla. Explosive cameos from Shane Watson, 34 off 21 balls and Stuart Binny, 16 off 4 balls, meant that RCB posted 185-7 off their 20 overs.

Russell and Morkel restrict the Challengers

Russell and Morne Morkel once again re-asserted their claim as two of the most economical bowlers in limited overs cricket. The two pacemen kept Bangalore in check throughout their innings and prevented the batsmen from taking control of the innings.

Russel expertly bowled his four overs ending with figures of 1-24, while Morkel expertly backed him up with figures of 2-28. The two of them not only took wickets in the opening of the game but most importantly they executed their death bowling skills almost perfectly. Something that Bangalore will certainly be jealous of after their poor death bowling display.

Andre Russell bowled a superb spell is his specatcular all-round performance | Photo: BCCI
Andre Russell bowled a superb spell is his specatcular all-round performance | Photo: BCCI

Regular wickets slow the Knight Riders

The Kolkata Knight Riders well immediately on the back foot during their chase as two of their top four batsmen departed for single figure scores, and just one of their top four making it past 20 runs.

Uthappa fell first after he was caught by Kohli off the bowling off Binny, Chris Lynn was the next man to go as he was bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal for 15 runs. Gautam Gambhir provided some resistance as he made 37 from 29 deliveries before he was given out LBW by Sreenath Aravind. Manish Pandey then completed the collapse as he scored just 8 runs before being dismissed by Watson.

Russell and Pathan give Kolkata an unlikely victory

Russell followed up his superb performance with the ball with a starring role with the bat. Coming in to bat with his team floundering at 69-4, the West Indian all-rounder capitalised on some poor bowling to rocket his side back into contention as he scored 39 from 24 deliveries.

Pathan stole the headlines, however. His 60* from 29 deliveries turned his team's fortune around. The batsman played some scintillating shots as he put the Royal Challengers Bangalore's bowler to the sword.

Yusuf Pathan celebrates his match winning half-century | Photo: IPL
Yusuf Pathan celebrates his match-winning half-century | Photo: BCCI

Watching the game you could be forgiven for believing that RCB didn't actually want to win this match. Having scored an impressive but not unbeatable target with the bat, they would have known they needed to play well to defend their target. However, a number of catching chances going down, fielders not cutting off boundaries and far too many extras meant that Kolkata Knight Riders were always in the game.