KKR defeat RCB despite Vettori heroics
Skipper Daniel Vettori's 44 off 25 and 1/27 were not enough as Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered another blow to their 2011 Champions League T20 Campaign, losing to the Kolkata Knight Riders by 9 wickets at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Tillakaratne Dilshan came into the side for RCB to replace AB de Villiers and he kept wickets instead of playing as an allrounder as KKR won the toss and chose to field first. The start was subdued with Gayle playing out a maiden by Lee, but he got going soon enough. Kallis and Lee pulled the game however, removing Gayle and Kohli (for a duck) respectively.
The Royal Challengers were always going to be depleted by the absence of de Villiers but the way KKR kept them from getting settled severely hindered their innings. A bevy of rash shots saw the Challengers lose their top 5 with just 91 on board in the 14th over before pacer Rajoo Bhatkal put up a defiant 61 run stand with his skipper Daniel Vettori.
Bhatkal was all power slogging while Vettori walked across the stumps to unsettle the opposition's lines and cash in on the resultant treats. He made 44 off 25 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes before being caught at deep midwicket going for a third six off the last ball of the RCB innings. His valiant knock and the support from Bhatkal took his team to a respectable 169/9.
Nannes began strongly, keeping his length full to prevent Brad Haddin from freeing his arms and gave away just 2 runs. Aravind, understandably excited about his call up to the national side had earlier mentioned that his focus was on this game but he was tonked for 12, 6 and 19 runs in his first three overs. Vettori was forced to bring himself on early to contain the damage but with no pressure being applied from the other end, his threat was patiently negated by Haddin and Kallis.
Both the openers had been cautious but they were beginning to find their rythm. Haddin took on the aggressor's role allowing Kallis to play himself in at the other end. By the time the Aussie keeper was dismissed, KKR were already on 62 in the 8th over of their innings.
Gautam Gambhir walked in with his team in the desperate need of a win for even a mathematical possibility of qualifying to the next round and set about building the innings clinically. He took on the lesser known RCB bowlers while treating Vettori with respect even as Kallis quietly accumulated at the other end. Listless fielding with catches not attempted, poor backing up that resulted in overthrows and quick running by the batsmen saw KKR never let the required run rate get out of sight.
The innings chugged along at a decent rate till the 17th over with 30 required off 24 balls. Then Gambhir decided it was time to cut loose, attacking Nannes, who was reintroduced into the attack. Two fours and two sixes saw KKR cut down the equation to 6 needed off 18 balls, taking a whopping 24 runs in that over. Kallis completed the formalities in the next over, the unbroken 109 run partnership for the second wicket taking just 10.1 overs to come.
Coach Ray Jennings now has a harder task ahead of RCB's next game, against Somerset, poor batting adding to the existing fielding and bowling problems from the previous game. The team knows that favourable results in the group will not take them through to the next round, that they absolutely must win their two remaining games to retain a chance of progressing. They would only do well to look at their own IPL campaign earlier this year when they bounced back from three losses out of their first four matches to finish on top of the table.