Virat Kohli stuck to his guns and fired his maiden IPL ton of this season to help Royal Challengers Bangalore register a nerve-wracking 10-run win over KKR. Virat Kohli-Moeen Ali partnership helped them post a challenging 213-run target which was successfully defended by their bowlers.
Parthiv Patel (4/10): On his day, he could be a surprise package and stun the opposition with aggression and cheeky strokes. However, tonight he was troubled right from the outset at Eden Gardens. The pitch was slow in nature and not an easy one to bat on, Parthiv tried his best to break the shackles and make the most of the field restrictions but couldn’t do so. In an attempt to hit Narine for a maximum, Parthiv only managed to get a leading edge.
Virat Kohli (9/10): It is often said, fortune favours the brave and it doesn’t take any rocket science to figure out how brave Kohli was in this scintillating knock. Though it was one lucky innings from Kohli, as he got a few reprieves here and there, but eventually the scorecard just reflects the runs scored by a batsman and not how lucky he was. He ran like a horse and didn’t let the tempo down with occasional big strokes amidst his flawless stroke-plays. The ball wasn’t coming on nicely at the start, and Kohli was smart enough to gauge that. He stuck to is guns and bid enough time to get used to the surface. Although he struggled initially, his dominance in the death overs was an evidence to his supremacy.
Akshdeep Nath (3.5/10): RCB made a surprising move by elevating Akshadeep Nath up the order in the absence of Ab de Villiers and it hardly paid off. The right-hander had a golden opportunity to cement his spot in the line-up with an impactful innings, but failed to do so. RCB’s batting weaknesses are more often camouflaged by the presence of few star cricketers, they need few domestic talents to rise up to the occasion and get runs on the board, Akshadeep Nath could have solved one tonight.
Moeen Ali (7.5/10): Oh man, that was some serious power-hitting (66 off 28) from the Englishman! With no De Villiers around, Ali and Kohli had to shoulder the run-scoring responsibility, which was done quite convincingly. Ali was lucky to get away with a thin edge, which wasn’t audible in the noisy Eden Gardens, but the run after getting a life is what separates greats from the ordinary. The southpaw capitalised on the reprieve and took KKR bowlers for cleaners in overs to come, especially Kuldeep. Can anyone believe that Ali scored 27 off Kuldeep’s last over? With the ball, Ali successfully defended 24 runs in the final over when Russell and Rana were in red hot form.
Marcus Stoinis (6.5/10): When someone is batting with such finesse, the best seat in the house is the non-striker's end, and Stoinis was one lucky guy to have witnessed such assault from King Kohli at the other end. Stoinis soon joined the party and played some good strokes to help RCB get past the 200-run mark. With players like Ali and Stoinis finding form with the bat, RCB would be the team to beat henceforth. With the ball, Stoinis did more than what was expected out of him. His first three overs were economical while the final over had a mixed run.
Heinrich Klaasen (6/10): The South African wicketkeeper-batsman was treated with a Virat Kohli special on his RCB debut. With Ali and Kohli stitching a match-winning partnership, Klaasen was not needed with the bat. He earns an extra point for being a livewire on the field though.
Pawan Negi (6/10): Negi didn’t really get a chance to either bat or ball. His spin could have been handy but the presence of left-handed Rana at the crease, kept Negi at bay.
Dale Steyn (6.5/10): Had that catch been cupped by Marcus Stoinis on the very first ball off the innings, Dale Steyn would have got off to a fairy-tale start. Coming back to the IPL set-up after two seasons, Steyn reminded of his heydays with a mesmerising first over, where he eventually got rid of Lynn on the final delivery. A lion never forgets how to hunt, which was exactly the scenario with Steyn tonight. Steyn was having a dream comeback before Rana and Russell disrupted his figures in the final over.
Mohammed Siraj (6/10): Siraj is acknowledged as one of the promising talents in the country, but his performance in recent times says a different story. However, he found some rhythm and looked a different bowler tonight. Though he had enough runs to defend, the kind of confidence he had while putting in the hard yards is what RCB has been looking for since the start of the season from Siraj.
Navdeep Saini (7.5/10): Despite being whacked by Nitish Rana in his final over, Saini still ended up conceding 31 runs in four overs, which is outstanding on a surface where other bowlers had a nightmare. The uncapped bowler has been named among the standbys for the World Cup and his performance tonight shows why it’s the right call. Also, he exploited Sunil Narine’s weaknesses against the short deliveries and did well to dismiss him, which speaks about his ability to execute a plan.
Yuzvendra Chahal (4/10): The pitch changed its nature as the game progressed. A surface that looked difficult to bat on initially, became a batting paradise. Chahal has been a fighter throughout the season, but couldn’t do much with the ball tonight. It happens, a player can have a bad day and this mediocre performance can be overlooked.
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