Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine Spoil Virat Kohli, Bangalore's Party

Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine Spoil Virat Kohli, Bangalore's Party

Taking cue from Rahul, Sunil Narine followed it up with another thunderstorm of an innings later in the night by slamming his 50 in just 17 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore. I played too many dot balls and couldn't get any momentum going.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsman Mandeep Singh admitted that Sunil Narine's 19-ball 50 proved to be the difference as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) started their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a winning note at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.

West Indies global Narine, more renowned for his performances with the ball, struck nine boundaries in a devastating innings as Kolkata chased RCB's 176-7.

Narine perished in the sixth over without adding a run to his half-century, but he had set KKR on the path to victory. By losing seven wickets RCB scored 176 runs in selected 20 overs. Rana then yorked Kohli (31, 33b, 1x4, 1x6) to peg back RCB. Nitish Rana, the new name in the Knight Riders' roster, scored a stroke-filled 34 in a 55-run partnership with Karthik for the fourth wicket to take the score close to the target.

Even though Woakes returned to take out Rinku Singh and Andre Russell, Karthik led his side across the finish line with an unbeaten 35, which came off 29 balls and included four boundaries.

"The turning point was Narine's innings. There was not much left for others to do for the rest of the batsmen", Mandeep said at the post-match conference. Picking up two huge wickets of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli in the same over, the youngster turned things around for KKR in his first game for the franchise. And without any delay, de Villiers dispatched him for a six off the first ball.

That the visitors were able to reach 176/7 was largely because of Mandeep Singh's fearless 37 off 18 balls towards the end. "I had nothing to lose and everything to gain", he said of the only over he got to bowl. They had raced to 65 runs in just 5.2 overs and a vital chunk of their "real" batting line-up was yet to enter the arena. I saw the ball was gripping well if I bowled in right areas I might get wickets. "I love to bat under pressure", he gushed.

A sensational display of pace bowling from Umesh Yadav brought RCB back on track as he produced a twin blow, dismissing Narine and Robin Uthappa.

"It's good that people are expecting more from me after doing well last season. It was very important to get them out at that stage", he said.

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