KKR 165/8 (20 overs) (Gambhir 64 ; Bisla 46 ; V Kumar 2/18)
RCB 123/9 (20 overs) (V Kumar 25 ; Balaji 4/18 ; Kallis 2/7)
The Knights travelled to the Garden City for their third outing in IPL5, to take on last season's finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore. To add more firepower to their campaign, the Knights made four changes to their lineup, with the inclusion of Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Manvinder Bisla and Lakshmipathy Balaji. A minor short circuit added sparks to the already charged atmosphere, resulting in a delayed start. Finally, things got going and the stage was set for a riveting contest.
The Challengers won the toss, and Daniel Vettori chose to field. Gambhir and Kallis walked out onto the field to take on the Bangalore bowling attack. The openers got off to a great start, and the pair looked in fine touch. While Kallis played the anchor role, Gambhir unleashed his aggressive side that sent the Challengers scurrying for the ball, all over the park. The cut, pull and hook came blazing from the captain's blade. Kallis too joined in the action, and welcomed Murali with a six. Kallis' dismissal in the 7th over brought wicketkeeper Bisla to the crease, and he repaid the team's faith in him with some hard hitting batting right from the start. Bisla and Gambhir combined brilliantly to put up a 65-run partnership that propelled the Knights to 125/1 in 14 overs. Bisla's quickfire 46 off just 29 balls was studded with two fours and 3 monster sixes. After Bisla's dismissal, the skipper carried on, scoring the fastest fifty of IPL5, and was dismissed for 64. Brett Lee walked in to play a cameo, belting a six in the final over, taking the Knights to a competitive total of 165.
Now, it was time for the Royal Challengers to face some chin music. Brett Lee and Jacques Kallis ran in full throttle, and pounded the Challengers with some aggressive bowling. Lee and Kallis bowled a tight line and length pushing the Royal Challengers onto the back foot. Even the fearsome Chris Gayle was ineffective, and the Challengers were struggling to keep up with the required runrate. Kallis then picked up the wickets of Pujara and RCB's danger man Chris Gayle, and the home team were tottering at 20/2. With Balaji replacing Kallis at the end of the 1st powerplay, the Knights' three-pronged pace attack was in motion. The 'smiling assasin' as he is fondly known in cricketing circles, unleashed a performance that Gambhir described as the best T20 bowling performance he had ever seen. Balaji picked up the wicket of Kohli, and got De Villers with a peach of a delivery. The South African's wicket probably was the turning point of the game.
The Challengers' slide continued, while the asking rate climbed. Shakib, Tendo and Bhatia played their part, choking the flow of runs by controlling the run flow and picking up wickets at regular intervals. The Knights dominated proceedings, and RCB finished at 123/9, falling 42 runs short.
There were no prizes for guessing who the man of the match would be. With figures of 4 for 18, Balaji was all smiles, and a proud Knight. The Knights were excellent in all departments of the game, and KKR fans were ecstatic with a solid performance by the team. Now the Knights head back to Kolkata, carrying with them momentum from a big win over the Challengers. Their next match is on 13th April, at Eden, where they take on Rajasthan Royals. While the sun sets on Bangalore, it's a new dawn for the Knights' campaign in IPL 5.
It was a night that belonged to the Knights. It was a night when the whole of Kolkata screamed Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo!