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Uthappa powers Knight Riders into playoffs

Kolkata Knight Riders 195 for 4 (Uthappa 83*, Shakib 60) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 165 for 5 (Takawale 45, Narine 4-20) by 30 runs
Scorecard

Robin Uthappa was little more than a spectator for eight overs as Royal Challengers Bangalore displayed the intent of a side fighting for survival. Three Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen were in the hut just after the Powerplay and Uthappa was 20 off 18. He finished an unbeaten 83 off 51 to confirm his team's place in the playoffs by extending their unbeaten run to six matches. Royal Challengers' loss meant they were out of the tournament.

They did have the resources to threaten a target of 196. But they persisted with a misfiring Chris Gayle and endured another poor start. Yogesh Takawale, inducted in the XI to offset Gayle's dot balls, looked scratchy early on and when he was becoming fluent, he perished. Sunil Narine's script was near flawless against Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh - who made a brief fist of it when he swatted Umesh Yadav in a 22-run 16th over - and AB de Villiers to scupper any chance the visitors had.

The pitch had offered early evidence of stopping on the batsmen a couple of times. Uthappa decided nudging around was too risky and enacted a counterattack. Concise footwork added power to his straight hits. His indulgence in unorthodoxy went as far as sweeping and reverse-sweeping, but more often than not he concentrated on guiding the ball into gaps with necessary angling of the bat. A caress to third man gave him the orange cap and his ninth 40-plus score in 13 matches ended up becoming his first unbeaten innings this season. Eden Gardens was rumbling "Uthappa, Uthappa" as he drilled the final ball of the innings - a full toss on middle - into the sightscreen to reach his highest IPL score.

Shakib Al Hasan was a brilliant deputy. Knight Riders were 56 for 3 in the eighth over when he joined Uthappa. The 121-run partnership took shape with singles and twos before Shakib, batting determinedly deep in his crease, brought out his bottom-handed swipes. The bowlers obliged by failing in their search for the blockhole and both batsmen began finding the boundaries with ease. When Yuzvendra Chahal was razed for 24 in the 15th over, with three towering sixes, Royal Challengers were rattled beyond recovery. They offered width, full tosses and bungled an easy run-out of Uthappa in the penultimate over to enable 78 runs off the last six overs.

Royal Challengers' hopes were pinned to an 85-run stand between Kohli and Takawale. They needed to balance the construction of a springboard for their finishers with an asking-rate that was persistently above 10. Rotating strike was not a problem and Vinay Kumar was carted for 17 runs in the ninth over to tempt their fans. However, with 26 runs and two wickets coming in the next four overs and 103 needed in the remaining seven, the dire need for big hits overcame the batsmen's ability.

  • Eye on the ball philosophy fails

    Plays of the day from the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens

  • Uthappa meets Amre challenge

    Pravin Amre wanted Robin Uthappa to bat for at least 18 overs against Royal Challengers Bangalore as the coach was sure the batsman would overtake Glenn Maxwell as the leading run-maker this IPL season

  • Uthappa powers Knight Riders into playoffs

    Kolkata Knight Riders progressed into the playoffs on the back of Robin Uthappa's unbeaten 83, while Royal Challengers Bangalore were knocked out of the tournament

Best at the death

11

RCB's strike rate in the last 5 overs this IPL - best for any team. KKR's ecomony of 8.12 in the last 5 overs is also the best

A new best

45

Yogesh Takawale's score today - his highest in the IPL (9 innings)

RCB's task

123

Most runs RCB have scored in the last 10 overs to win an IPL game while chasing - they need 124 today

Spin win

6.55

The economy rate of KKR's spinners in this IPL - the best for any team

Odds against RCB

10

Number of times RCB have failed to chase down a 190+ total in the IPL (in 11 attempts)

Kohli v KKR

19.33

Virat Kohli's average v KKR. He has scored only 174 runs in 13 games at an SR of 111

Slow Gayle

85.60

Chris Gayle's batting average against KKR. He has scored 346 runs at a strike rate of 158.

KKR favourites?

1

Number of times that KKR have failed to defend 190+. They have successfully defended 190+ twice against RCB

Season best for KKR

166

KKR's highest score in this IPL before today's 195

Not a finisher

4

Number of balls Uthappa has faced in the last 3 overs of an innings this IPL - scored 1 run and been dismissed three times

Six, six, six

15

Number of overs in this IPL where bowlers have conceded 3+ sixes - Chahal was the latest

Not happy at home

29

Number of boundaries conceded by Chahal in the India leg of this IPL - he conceded four in the UAE leg

Quick to 100

3

Number times KKR have got to 100 inside 12 overs this season - only KXIP have done it more often (5 times)