All-round Bangalore crush Kolkata
Royal Challengers Bangalore 162 for 3 (Dravid 52, Uthappa 50*) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 160 for 9 (McCullum 45, Gayle 34, Vinay 3-23, Kallis 2-31) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
Royal Challengers Bangalore were inspired by their bowlers and a delightful half-century from Rahul Dravid in a seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders that propelled them to second place in the points table. In front of a boisterous crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the teams served up an exciting encounter that, for much of its duration, retained the frenetic flow that Twenty20 was meant to provide. Kolkata's big names blazed with the bat but their performance was undermined by some crafty bowling in the middle overs. Bangalore's successful chase combined Dravid's conventional touch with Robin Uthappa's ruthless flourish to seal a morale-boosting victory and leave Kolkata struggling in the bottom three.
Anil Kumble's decision to field had been prompted by Bangalore's good track record while chasing at the Chinnaswamy and his batsmen didn't let him down. But the victory had been set up by a combined effort with the ball which redressed the damage caused by poor spells at the start of Kolkata's innings.
In conditions favouring swing and movement, Praveen Kumar and Dale Steyn had dragged the ball too short and provided much width that Sourav Ganguly and Chris Gayle dealt with harshly. Sixty-one runs came in the Powerplay, the highest for Kolkata this IPL, and they had got there through a series of cuts, pulls and drives that their opening pair used with relentless regularity. Jacques Kallis, too, bowled short and was slashed by Ganguly over third man and Kumble, expensive in his first over, was late-cut for four.
But Vinay Kumar sparked a turnaround, and his show contained everything that Bangalore lacked in the first half of Kolkata's innings. He varied his pace well and used the bouncer to good effect, a ploy that had worked wonders against Rajasthan Royals when they had been shot out for 92 but one that Bangalore hadn't used consistently. A slower ball accounted for Ganguly who pulled straight to square leg, and Angelo Mathews was induced into mistiming one to point off a short delivery. In between, Kallis had undone Manoj Tiwary with pace as he miscued a pull to be caught. Three wickets had fallen for two runs in nine balls, and Bangalore had snatched the momentum.
Throughout his knock and amid the slide, Brendon McCullum had threatened to overcome Bangalore's revival, sweeping and pulling Sridharan Sriram for 18 in an over, and frustrating Vinay with edges over and past third man. But Kumble, who recovered brilliantly to emerge as Bangalore's most economical bowler, had him caught in the deep and Steyn's fiery pace, mixed with Vinay's accuracy at the death restored Bangalore's advantage.
Dravid has hardly been noticed this IPL, with Kallis' success at the top and the power-packed batting of Uthappa and Virat Kohli often resulting in him dropping down the order. Short of opportunities, and after the early departure of Kallis, Dravid kept Bangalore's chase on track, rarely ever attempting a rash stroke and finding the boundary with ease, relying on timing than power and using the pace of the ball.
Three fours from Ishant Sharma in an over underlined the ease with which he scored. A full delivery was guided late past third man, a short delivery was cut hard through point and a slower ball was met with a firm push to the straight boundary. A break in the trend was a swung six off Ajit Agarkar over long-on, but as if to reinforce his original approach, the next ball, a half-volley, was driven over the cover boundary for six. Dravid had consistently struck the ball through the line, and he holed out doing the same, lofting a slower one off Mathews.
By the time Uthappa took off, Bangalore were 103 for 2 in the 14th over and favourties to wrap up the game. Having changed the course of two games this IPL, against Punjab and Chennai, both at home, in the matter of an over, he sought to shut out Kolkata with a brutal assault. He cleared his left foot to flat-bat a six off Mathews and reserved much of the treatment for Mendis, who was reverse-swept for two sixes, interspersed with a slog-sweep through midwicket. He and Ross Taylor combined to smote 62 in under four overs, rush Bangalore to a thumping win and distance themselves, for now, from the mid-table scrap for the final four.
Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo