IPL 2024: Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer shine as Kolkata cruise to convincing win over Bangalore

After nine consecutive wins for home teams, Kolkata Knight Riders broke the visiting team jinx in the 2024 Indian Premier League as they beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.

It was a comprehensive all-round show from the two-time champions as they chased down the target with 19 balls to spare after opting to field first, courtesy some explosive batting from southpaws Sunil Narine (47) and Venkatesh Iyer (50).

Earlier in the day, former captain Virat Kohli carried his bat through the innings with an unbeaten 59-ball 83 on a two paced wicket as the Royal Challengers Bangalore posted 182/6 in their alloted 20 overs aided by a quickfire cameo from Dinesh Karthik (20*).

Pacers Harshit Rana (2-39) and Andre Russell (2-29) stood out for the Knight Riders with the ball.

Turning point of the match

With the pitch acting a bit two-paced in the first innings, it was imperative that the Kolkata Knight Riders get off to a good start in the chase. Openers Phil Salt (30) and Narine provided just that.

Salt started the onslaught with a six off the second ball of the innings and there was not looking back. Mohammed Siraj leaked 18 runs off the first over with a boundary and a six more, while left-arm pacer Yash Dayal gave away 14 more in the next, including five wides.

Faf du Plessis replaced Siraj with Alzarri Joseph in the next over, but the West Indian was hit for two sixes, leaking 14 himself.

Though Dayal bowled the most economical over of the powerplay next, giving away just seven in the fourth over, the Knight Riders bought up their 50 off just 21 deliveries.

There was no respite for the Royal Challengers Bangalore as Siraj conceded 11 runs off the fifth over, before Narine laid into Dayal with twin boundaries and consecutive sixes to close off the powerplay with a massive 21-run over.

Though Narine fell in the very next over to a pacy 101.8kph yorker from left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar, he had already added 86 runs for the opening wicket for Salt. 85 of those runs came in the powerplay, effectively turning the match in the favour of Knight Riders.

The Field’s player of the match

There were two quality half-centuries from Kohli and Venkatesh in the match, but it is hard to look past Sunil Narine for The Field’s player of the match.

His 22-ball batting exploits with five sixes and two boundaries aside, Narine also picked up a wicket in what was his 500th T20 match.

The 35-year-old off-spinner from Trinidad, foxed the dangerous Glenn Maxwell (28) into a false shot and had him caught at deep point by Rinku Singh. He finished with figures of 1-40 in his four overs.

Though he was not at his absolute best with the ball in the evening, with Kohli and Cameron Green (31) tearing into him early on, it is also vital to note that he had Maxwell dropped off his bowling by Ramandeep Singh when the Australian was batting on just 11.

Narine would also hand Maxwell a second life, dropping a catch himself off Rana, but eventually made up for it.

‘Wicket was two-paced’

There was a common sentiment among players and coaches alike in the evening – it was not the usual Chinnaswamy batting paradise but instead the pitch was a bit two-paced with slower balls and cutters difficult to hit.

Green, who played a rapid innings for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, implied it in the innings break to the broadcasters. He maintained that the Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers had a “blueprint” – cutters into the wicket.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ bowling coach Bharat Arun also asserted the same. “Pace off was the most effective,” he said. “If you bowl fast on this track, it becomes easy for the batters.”

Though skipper Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh, who stitched a 75-run third wicket stand for Knight Riders, said the wicket was better to bat from one end, the two batters also maintained that slower balls were the way to go on this pitch.

Yet when it came to execution, the Royal Challengers Bangalore faltered. Their two most experienced pacers – Mohammed Siraj and Alzarri Joseph, kept on dishing out thunderbolts with pace on and were put away with ease.

Joseph, in particular, clocked in execess of 150kph multiple times but refused to mend his ways. He eventually leaked 34 off his two overs.

Dayal offered pace and he was not spared either. When he returned later in the innings, he scalped Ventakesh with a slower ball but it was too little too late. The only solace for Bangalore was impact player Vijaykumar Vyshak, who bowled cutters after cutters to finish with figures of 1-23 in four overs.

“In the first innings we thought that the wicket was very two-paced, you could see that when the guys bowled the cutters, back of a length, we really struggled. We thought it was a decent score knowing that it gets a little bit easier in the evening, there was a little bit of dew that came in. Looking at the way we batted in the first innings, even when we had a set batter in Virat in the middle he was struggling to hit the ball just because there was lack of pace.”

— – RCB captain Faf du Plessis

Points Table

Position Team Played Won Lost NRR Points
1 CSK 2 2 0 1.979 4
2 KKR 2 2 0 1.047 4
3 RR 2 2 0 0.800 4
4 SRH 2 1 1 0.675 2
5 PBKS 2 1 1 0.025 2
6 RCB 3 1 2 -0.711 2
7 GT 2 1 1 -1.425 2
8 DC 2 0 2 -0.528 0
9 MI 2 0 2 -0.925 0
10 LSG 1 0 1 -1.000 0
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