Captain Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey struck fine half-centuries before Andre Russell played a brisk knock towards the end to guide Kolkata Knight Riders to 183 for five against Royal Challengers Bangalore in an Indian Premier League match, here on Monday.
Put into bat, KKR lost their first wicket in third over when Iqbal Abdulla dismissed Robin Uthappa (2) cheaply.
But RCB’s weak link, their bowling attack failed to make further inroads as Gambhir (51 from 34 balls; 7x4s) and Pandey (50 from 35 balls; 5x4s, 2x6s) shared 76 runs off just 49 balls for the second wicket to brighten KKR’s prospect at the Eden Gardens.
Batting with amazing aggression and intent, Gambhir and Pandey notched up a fifty each.
While it was Gambhir’s fifth fifty this season and a record 31st in the tournament, Pandey registered his second half-century. But poor coordination in running between the wickets cost Gambhir his wicket as from being 87 for 1 at midway stage, KKR were reduced to 125 for five in 15.2 overs, losing four wickets within a span of 29 balls.
But before it could go worse, Russell stepped up the runrate with three sixes and two boundaries in an unbroken 58 run stand off 30 balls with Shakib Al Hasan (18 not out from 11 balls; 1x4, 1X6) to take KKR to a fighting total.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli had an injury scare while attempting a catch in the 17th over when he appeared to have split the webbing of his left hand as he went off the field but only to return to the field soon.
Earlier, KKR got off to a sedate start with Abdulla giving the breakthrough in his second ball.
Introduced in the third over, the left-arm spinner troubled Uthappa in his very first ball before dismissing him in the next delivery.
The KKR opener played against the spin, got a leading edge and Abdulla took a brilliant one handed diving catch diving towards his left off his own bowling. Pandey walked out to bat at 14 for one in 2.2 overs and the youngster showed superb application in turning conditions.
Kohli brought in Sreenath Aravind the next over and Pandey slammed the left-arm seamer for successive boundaries, while Gambhir too complemented well to revive their innings.
With nothing going in his favour, Kohli brought into attack go-to spinner Yuzvendra Chahal but the leg-spinner conceded 16 runs in his first over. Scoreboard of the Indian Premier League match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, here on Monday.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa c & b Abdulla 2 Gautam Gambhir run out (Watson/Abdulla) 51 Manish Pandey c de Villiers b Aravind 50 Yusuf Pathan st Rahul b Chahal 6 Andre Russell not out 39 Suryakumar Yadav c Abdulla b Aravind 5 Shakib Al Hasan not out 18 Extras: (LB-6, W-6) 12 Total: (for 5 wickets in 20 overs) 183 Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-90, 3-113, 4-118, 5-125 Bowling: Binny 1-0-8-0, Aravind 4-0-41-2, Abdulla 4-0-22-1, Watson 4-0-46-0, Chahal 4-0-38-1, Jordan 3-0-22-0.