IPL 2021 playoffs, RCB vs KKR (Eliminator): KKR sails into Qualifier 2, RCB's wait for maiden title continues
Kolkata Knight Riders edged past Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets to book its place in Qualifier 2 of IPL 2021 playoffs, while the latter's wait for its maiden title has to continue.
It was a composed performance from former champion Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), as it sneaked past Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by four wickets in Eliminator of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday. While KKR is into Qualifier 2, where it takes on Delhi Capitals (DC) on Wednesday, at the same venue, RCB's wait for its maiden IPL title continues, with Kohli having played his final game as RCB skipper.
Winning the toss, RCB skipper Virat Kohli elected to bat, as both sides moved in with an unchanged XI. The RCB openers were off to a decent start, with Kohli (39) and Devdutt Padikkal (21) contributing to a 49-run opening stand before the latter fell to pacer Lockie Ferguson in the sixth over.
Meanwhile, 20 runs later, Srikar Bharat (9) failed to repeat his Delhi Capitals (DC) heroic and was dismissed by mystery spinner Sunil Narine in the tenth over, followed by Kohli in the 13th off the same man at 88. Although the RCB batters succeeded in scoring overs outside Narine, the spinner knocked over AB de Villiers (11) in the 15th, 14 runs later.
At the same time, in the 17th, Narine again sent back Glenn Maxwell (15) after ten runs, thus effectively dismantling RCB's batting order. Shahbaz Ahmed (13) and Daniel Christian (9) contributed 14 more runs before Ferguson dismissed the latter in the 19th, at 126.
In the meantime, Christian was run out in the final over following a horrible miscommunication with Harshal Patel (8) at 134, as RCB finished at 138/7. KKR put five bowlers into the attack, with Narine bagging fourth, while Varun Chakravarthy was the most economical of all.
During the chase, KKR started steady, with openers Shubman Gill (29) and Venkatesh Iyer (26) contributing 41 before the former fell to pacer Harshal Patel in the sixth. It was 12 runs later when Rahul Tripathi (6) was trapped leg-before by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the seventh.
Although Iyer and Nitish Rana (23) contributed 26 for the third, at 79, the former walked back to Harshal in the 11th, followed by the latter, 31 runs later, to Chahal in the 15th. Meanwhile, the arrival of Narine (26) provided some relief to KKR, as he smashed three sixes in an over of pacer Daniel Christian.
At 125, Narine was cleaned up by pacer Mohammed Siraj, while the same over saw Dinesh Karthik (10) walking back to the same man, a run later. With the equation going down to seven off the final six, Shakib Al Hasan scooped it over for a four off Christain, and thereon, it was a comfortable four-wicket win for KKR, with a couple of balls to spare.
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RCB utilised six bowlers, with the three wicket-takers claiming a couple each, while Chahal nailed it with his economy.
Brief scores: RCB 138/7 (Kohli- 39; Narine- 4/21) lost to KKR 139/6 in 19.4 overs (Gill- 29; Chahal- 2/19) by four wickets.