IPL 2024: Narine, Salt & Venkatesh Iyer make it a stroll in the park for KKR

Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine was in his element. Photo: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak

Bengaluru: A ruthless fifty by Venkatesh Iyer worked as the catalyst for Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) smooth seven-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in their IPL match here on Friday.

Venkatesh's 50 of 30 balls (3x4, 4x6) and stunning blitzes by openers Sunil Narine (47, 22b, 2x4, 5x6) and Phil Salt (30, 20b, 2x4, 2x6) propelled KKR past the 183-run target that the RCB set for them, which was built around Virat Kohli's superb unbeaten 83.

The KKR batters never got bogged down either by a slow pitch or the RCB bowlers as they hunted down the target in just 16.5 overs.

Their approach on the night was best exemplified by Venkatesh, who added 75 runs for the third wicket with skipper Shreyas Iyer (39 not out).

The left-hander found his range from the word go, as pacer Alzarri Joseph suffered the brunt of his aggressive intentions.

He biffed the West Indian quick for 20 runs in an over that contained two sixes over cover and mid-wicket and a steered four to third man, besides a leg-bye boundary.

Shreyas, who was dropped on five by Yash Dayal off highly impressive local pacer Vysakh Vijayakumar (1/23), just had the supporting role on this night.

But for that crisp win, the KKR should profusely thank Narine and Salt, who subjugated RCB bowlers in the powerplay with astonishing power-hitting.

The visitors' chase began frenetically as Narine and Salt added 86 runs in just 6.3 overs through an array of dazzling shots.

Salt started the carnage, smoking pacer Mohammed Siraj for 18 runs in the very first over, finding two sixes and a four.

Narine followed suit. After smashing Joseph for two sixes in the third over, the left-hander ruined the figures of left-arm pacer Dayal, clobbering him for 21 runs, including a four and two sixes in three consecutive balls in the sixth over.

There was a hint of sluggishness on the Chinnaswamy surface but there was hardly any effort by the RCB bowlers to exploit it with slower balls like their Knight Riders counterparts.

It required a yorker from left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar to break the opening wicket partnership as Narine failed to block the full-length delivery on the off-stump.

But by then, he had done his job.

Earlier, Kohli's unbeaten fifty formed the foundation of RCB's 182/6.

 Virat Kohli
RCB opener Virat Kohli drives one through the off side. Photo: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak

Kohli (83 not out, 59b, 4x4, 4x6) and Cameron Green (33 off 21b) milked 65 runs off 42 balls for the second wicket, the primary alliance in RCB innings.

An archetypal Dinesh Karthik cameo (20, 8b, 3x6) added gravitas to the RCB total as usual towards the end.

Skipper Faf du Plessis departed early as his ttempt to scoop pacer Harshit Rana ended in the hands of Mitchell Starc inside the circle.

But a period of stability followed as Kohli and Green kept RCB on the track with a busy stand that saw them reach 61/1 in the power Play segment.

Kohli dished out drives and lofts over covers, a new addition to his batting, sweeps and slog-sweep to fetch his runs, but the shot of the night was a swat-flick off Starc that sailed for a six.

In fact, no other shot really encapsulates Kohli's batting like the swat-flick a child of his desire to find newer ways to sustain the domination of bowlers.

A simple snap of wrists and power emanating from a strong bottom hand can turn this traditionally gentle shot into a malevolent run-making option.

Kohli brought his fifty in 36 balls whereas other batters, except Green, struggled for timing.

But Green wasn't really bothered about such technical angles, as his batting was all about brute power.

Narine, who was playing his 500th T20 match, was given a hammering as Green took 15 runs off the spinner's first over that included a sequence of 4, 4, 6 a sweep, slap past cover and a hoick over long-on.

However, the burgeoning alliance was snapped when Green's effort to play a pull off Andre Russell saw the ball crashing onto his stumps.

Glenn Maxwell, who was dropped twice on 11 and 21, en route a 19-ball 28 could not exploit the largesse of KKR fielders as his luck finally ran out against Narine.

A slash off the West Indian spinner ended in the hands of Rinku Singh at deep point, and Maxwell had to depart after adding 42 runs for the third wicket with Kohli. 

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.