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Kolkata beat Bangalore by 5 wickets to dent RCB play-off hopes

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The Kolkata Knight Riders won the first ever IPL game to be played in Ranchi, beating the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a low scoring contest by 5 wickets. In a game that failed to live up to its star billing, RCB posted a well under par 115-9 in their 20 overs, struggling to come to terms with the pace of the pitch. KKR chased down the target, but without much fan far, knocking the runs off in sedate fashion slightly to the disappointment of a packed house in Ranchi.

The Kolkata Knight Riders welcomed the Royal Challengers Bangalore to the brand new Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium in Ranchi on Sunday knowing that they were playing for pride and perhaps new contracts ahead of next season's auction. RCB meanwhile had considerably more immediate worries, with their place in the top four in the IPL table under threat.

The Kolkata Knight riders won the toss in their new adopted hometown and decided to bowl first on a pitch that was bit unfamiliar to both the  teams. KKR made a couple of changes, including Sachithra Senanayake and Debabrata Das in the team for Eoin Morgan and Iqbal Abdulla, while RCB brought in Abhimanyu Mithun in place of Syed Mohammad.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore made a sluggish start to the game with Cheteshwar Pujara struggling to get the ball of the square before eventually falling for a slow 5 from 14 balls to Senanayake. Gayle at the other end wasn't marching along either, and it was down to Virat Kohli to give some impetus to the Bangalore innings.

The young skipper made a quickfire 17 before dragging a Jacques Kallis delivery back onto his stumps. KKR's bowlers were exceptionally managed by Gautam Gambhir, who kept changing things around to keep the batsmen guessing on a two paced pitch.

Gayle fell for a 36-ball 33, smartly stumped by Manvinder Bisla off Sunil Narine, who nabbed the big fish. Narine went on a rampage in the second half of the innings, ending with 4-22 as RCB struggled to 115-9 in their 20 overs.

AB de Villiers chipped in with 28, but there were no other noteworthy contributions as the Kolkata bowlers kept their visitors on a tight leash to threaten to damage Bangalore's hopes of making the play-offs.

The Knight Riders had a nightmare start to their innings, losing Manvinder Bisla second ball to Ravi Rampaul, before skipper Gautam Gambhir too fell in the powerplay for 14 to Vinay Kumar. In Jacques Kallis though they had the perfect person to anchor the chase, and the veteran South African did just that, scoring a patient 41 to lead his side closer to the finish line.

Yusuf Pathan came and went contributing 18 before Manoj Tiwary blocked up the other end, scoring 24. The match though was always in KKR's grasp, and the defending champions knocked off the runs with 4 balls to spare to register a long overdue win.

The result does little to help KKR's hopes as they are all but mathematically eliminated, but RCB's chances of retaining a top four berth have taken a beating. They are still in contention, but can ill afford any slip ups from here on out.

Teams:

RCB:  C Gayle, C Pujara, V Kohli(c),  Ab de Villiers(wk), S Tiwary, M Henriques, R Rampaul, A Mithun, J Unadkat, M Karthik, V kumar.

KKR:  M Bisla(wk), G Gambhir(c), J Kallis, M Tiwary, Y Pathan, R Ten Doeschate, D Das, R Bhatia, L Balaji, S Narine, S Senanayake.

Mini Scorecard:

Royal Challengers Bangalore 115-9 (20 overs, 5.75rpo)

C Gayle 33(36) S Narine 4-22

Ab de Villiers 28(22) J Kallis 2-17

 

Kolkata Knight Riders 116-5 (20 overs,  6.00rpo)

J Kallis 41(45) V Kumar 2-12

M Tiwary 24(27) R Rampaul 1-17

KKR win by 5 wickets