Half-centuries from Robin Uthappa and Rahul Dravid carried Royal Challengers Bangalore to a crushing seven-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League match, in Bangalore, on Saturday.
Dravid had put Bangalore in control with a quickfire 52 from 35 balls, while Uthappa finished it off in style with a cracking innings of 52 from a mere 22 deliveries, including three boundaries and five sixes.
Uthappa and Ross Taylor (14 from six balls) were involved in an unbroken stand of 62 from 23 balls as Bangalore cruised to 164 for three in 17.1 overs to jump to second in the standings with 12 points from 11 games.
Vinay Kumar took three for 23 and Jacques Kallis claimed two for 31 earlier to restrict Kolkata to 160 for nine, as the visitors lost their way in the second half of their innings. They were comfortably placed at 103 for one in the 12th over before losing eight wickets for 52 runs in the space of 74 deliveries.
Brendon McCullum top-scored with a brisk 45 from 36 balls, inclusive of five boundaries and two sixes, adding 51 runs for the second with Sourav Ganguly, who made 33.
Chris Gayle had given Kolkata a flying start, as he hit six boundaries and a six for a quick 34 from 15 balls, to put on 52 runs in 32 deliveries for the opening wicket with Ganguly.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Sourav Ganguly hit the first boundary of the match when he cut Praveen Kumar through point in the opening over and Chris Gayle hit Dale Steyn over point for his first four in the next over.
Gayle opened his shoulders and slammed Steyn for back-to-back boundaries in the fourth over. In the next, Ganguly went after Praveen, despatching a slower delivery straight down the ground for the first six of the innings.
Gayle then took Praveen to the cleaners, slamming two boundaries and a six off the last three deliveries to take Kolkata past the 50-run mark after five overs.
Kallis got Bangalore's first wicket when he had Gayle caught in the covers as he attempted to loft it over the off-side cordon. The opener had given Kolkata a flying start, smashing 34 from 15 balls, including six boundaries and a six, before he was dismissed in the sixth over.
Ganguly continued to attack and unleashed a powerful cut shot that flew over point for a six against Kallis.
Kumble bowled a couple of quiet overs without conceding a single boundary as Kolkata reached 83 for one after ten overs.
It was not long before McCullum broke the shackles as he hit left-arm spinner Sriram for three fours and a six in his second over. He swept him for three boundaries, while a short delivery was duly despatched over midwicket for a six for 18 runs in the 11th over.
Just when it looked as if Kolkata would run away towards a big total, Bangalore struck with three quick wickets in the space of eight deliveries.
Ganguly was beginning to slow down and it was not long before Vinay Kumar ended his vigil at the crease. The Kolkata captain tried to pull a short delivery but ended up lobbing a simple catch to Kumble at square leg; he was out after scoring 33 from 32 balls.
Manoj Tiwary also perished trying to pull Kallis, undone by the extra pace and caught at point for a duck. Angelo Mathews tried to cut a short delivery from Kumar, but hit it straight down the throat of Ross Taylor on the cover boundary for one as Kolkata slipped from a comfortable 103 for one in the 12th over to 105 for four in the 14th.
McCullum then helped himself to a couple of streaky boundaries and a six off the thick outside edge over thirdman to spoil Vinay's good over. The Kiwi batsman finally perished when he pulled Kumble to Vinay on the square leg fence after scoring 45 from 36 balls, having hit five fours and two sixes.
The wickets continued to tumble as Wriddhiman Saha (13) was deceived by a slower delivery from Steyn and lofted a simple catch to Vinay at long-on.
Cheteshwar Pujara hit a couple of vital sixes in the 19th over before he was run out attempting a quick single. Ajit Agarkar then caused another run out when he called striker Ashok Dinda (0) for a quick single after he missed the ball but the latter was dismissed by a direct hit from wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa.
Part-timer keeper Uthappa then showed great reflexes to catch Ishant Sharma off an inside edge for a duck and give Vinay his third wicket of the innings.
Kolkata finished on 160 for nine in their 20 overs having made just 36 runs in the last five overs, losing five wickets in the process.
Vinay was once again the star with the ball, claiming three for 23 in three overs, while Kallis took two for 31 to help Bangalore fight back after Kolkata's good start. The best bowling performance for the hosts came from captain Kumble, who showed remarkable control to take one for 17 in his four overs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
The tournament's top scorer Kallis got a reprieve even before he scored a run, in the first over of the innings, when Ganguly dropped him at mid-off as he tried to loft Ashok Dinda.
However, it was not long before Kolkata had their man as Kallis was taken at first slip off Dinda for eight, his lowest score in the tournament.
Debutant Sridharan Sriram also struggled to get going as Bangalore were restricted to 11 for one after three overs.
Sriram got his first boundary when he hit a full delivery from Ishant through mid-off and in the next over hit Agarkar for another four.
Dravid was keen to get on with things as he started positively. After two good overs at the start, Ishant suffered at the hands of Dravid, who slammed him for three boundaries in the sixth over.
Dravid looked in top form as he cut a short wide delivery from Mathews through point to race to 34 from 23 balls, with five boundaries. After the early wicket, Bangalore had recovered quite well to reach 61 for one after eight overs, needing 100 from 72 deliveries for victory.
Sriram's struggle continued as he failed to find the boundaries. He, however, got a reprieve on 18 when he was dropped by Agarkar at deep square leg as pulled a short delivery from Mendis, in the 10th over. Sriram's struggle finally ended when he was bowled by Dinda after a sedate innings of 27 from 29 balls.
Dravid ensured that Bangalore maintained scoring rate as he slammed Agarkar for back-to-back sixes to bring up his half-century from 33 balls. But the former India captain fell in the next over when he was foxed by the slower delivery from Mathews which he lobbed towards sweeper cover and was caught by Agarkar for a brisk 52 from 35 balls, after having hit five boundaries and two sixes.
Uthappa then took over the mantle and hit Mathews for a six over midwicket to take the total to 110 for three after 14 overs. He repeated the dose in the next over, carting Mendis straight down the ground for another six to make it 41 needed from the last five overs.
Ganguly's gamble to bring back the struggling Ishant for his final over backfired as he gave away 17 runs. The sixes continued to rain from Uthappa's bat as he launched another straight one and followed that with back-to-back boundaries.
Mendis was also taken apart in the next over with a six each for Taylor and Uthappa. Taylor swept him for a maximum over square leg, while Uthappa reverse swept Mendis for two sixes over point in that over which went for 23 runs.
Once again Uthappa had come to Bangalore's rescue; he completed his half-century from just 22 balls, having hit three boundaries and five sixes.
Taylor hit the winning runs when he slammed a full toss from Dinda over square leg for a boundary to take Bangalore to 164 for three in 17.1 overs for a convincing seven-wicket victory with 17 deliveries to spare.
Uthappa finished unbeaten on a cracking knock of 52 from 22 balls and Taylor was not out on 14 from six balls; the two batsmen were involved in a blazing partnership of 67 from 23 balls.