Kolkata, May 16 (IANS) Twin fifties from Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey aided by Andre Russell’s late blitz of 19-ball 39 helped Kolkata Knight Riders post a challenging 183/5 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in an Indian Premier League contest at the Eden Gardens here on Monday.
Gambhir smashed a 34-ball 51, while Pandey contributed 50 off 35 balls while Sreenath Aravind picked up figures of 2/41.
Even though the hosts lost Robin Uthappa (2) early, Gambhir manage to pick the gaps along with Pandey. The latter was aggressive from the outset and smacked Aravind for two back to back boundaries in the 4th over which yielded 15 runs.
Gambhir too pounced upon anything that was hurled loose, and by the end of the powerplay the Knights were 51/1.
The onslaught continued in the next over as legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal was carved for 16.
RCB then pulled things back a little in the next few overs and also grabbed the vital wicket of Gambhir who got run-out shortly after getting to his fifty and also ended Gambhir and Pandey’s 76-run stand.
The hundred came up in the 12th over as Pandey smashed Watson for a flat six and then pinched a single.
Thereafter, new man Yusuf Pathan and the already set Pandey failed to pierce the gaps. Runs dried down and Pandey was holed out in the deep trying to up the run-rate. Yusuf (6) too was out stumped.
Next to perish was Suryakumar Yadav (5) who was caught at long on by Iqbal Abdulla. The flurry of wickets also put a brake on the scoring rate much to the relief of RCB.
But Shakib Al Hasan and Russell enthralled the strong Eden crowd with some powerhitting to propel KKR to a challenging total. The last three overs yielded 38 runs for the home side.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders: 183/5 (Gautam Gambhir 51, Manish Pandey 50; Sreenath Aravind 2/41) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore