Bengaluru, May 2 (IANS): Mandeep Singh (45 not out, 18b, 4×4, 3×6) worked the magic for Royal Challengers Bangalore who defeated champions Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets with two balls to spare in a rain-shortened 10-overs-a-side game in the 2015 Pepsi Indian Premier League here on Saturday.
Needing 13 runs off the final over, the 23-year old from Jalandhar blasted two sixes off Andre Russell to take RCB to 115 for three in reply to KKR’s 111 for four in what resembled a heavyweight boxing slugfest.
The victory, their second over KKR this season, took RCB’s tally to nine points to tie with the Kolkata outfit in the league standings. RCB, however, was placed higher on superior Net Run Rate in third position.
RCB kept their composure in a hectic run chase that saw skipper Virat Kohli (34, 20b, 2×4, 3×6) and Chris Gayle (21, 9b, 3×6) providing a solid platform by putting on 48 runs in 3.5 overs.
However, the hosts lost Gayle and A.B. de Villiers (2) in quick succession, and later, Kohli too departed, leaving the finishing job to Mandeep Singh who played with refreshing abandon to take RCB over the line.
It was a match that saw all bowlers, except RCB’s Mitchell Starc, being taken to the cleaners after the match was delayed by over two hours following heavy showers. The ground staff, however, did a fine job to ensure a game, even if it was reduced to 10 overs per side.
Earlier, KKR, expectedly, set a gallop from the start with openers Robin Uthappa (23, 21b, 3×4) and Gautam Gambhir (12, 8b, 2×4) going on the offensive, putting on 33 runs in just 23 balls.
The exit of Gambhir, caught in the deep off David Wiese did not slow down the KKR pace. Rather, Russell took charge and went about destroying the RCB attack while Uthappa played second fiddle until he nicked leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to akeeper Dinesh Karthik who later ran out Russell.
By then, KKR were on top and their innings eventually ended on 111 with Mitchell Starc, pick of the home bowlers, denied a second wicket after removing Ryan ten Doeschate in the final over, when he was no-balled for above-the-waist full toss that Yusuf Pathan slammed into the hands of Kohli at long-on.