ANI Photo | IPL 2023: Top knocks from Shardul, Gurbaz, Rinku power KKR to 204/7 against RCB after some early wickets

Explosive half-centuries by opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz and lower-order batter Shardul Thakur and Rinku Singh’s century stand for the sixth wicket with Shardul helped Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) reach a massive total of 204/7 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Thursday.
Put to bat first by RCB, Rahmanullah Gurbaz helped KKR get off to a solid start, smashing Mohammed Siraj for three straight fours in the third over. Venkatesh Iyer on the other end, started slowly.
However, David Willey, coming to the side as Reece Topley’s replacement, made an immediate impact in the next over, castling Venkatesh’s middle and leg stump for just three off seven balls and crashing Mandeep Singh’s off stump, dismissing him for a golden duck. KKR was reduced to 26/2 in 3.3 overs.
Following these two hiccups, skipper Nitish Rana made his way to the crease.
The fifth over bowled by Akash Deep proved expensive as he got hit for a six on no ball and gave some extras through leg byes and a wide. His over gave away 15 runs.
At the end of six overs of the powerplay, KKR was at 47/2, with Gurbaz (27*) and Rana (1*) unbeaten.
Michael Bracewell’s spin helped RCB earn the big wicket of Rana for just one run off just five balls. The batter was caught by wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik. KKR sunk to 47/3 in 6.1 overs.
KKR crossed the 50-run mark in 6.5 overs. Gurbaz continued to counterattack really well, smashing Bracewell for a four and six in the ninth over. He brought up his fifty with a flat six over the long leg in just 38 balls. His knock consisted of six fours and three sixes.
At the end of 10 overs, KKR was at 79/3, with Gurbaz (54*) and Rinku Singh (5*) developing a partnership, with the former as the aggressor.

RCB spinners continued to dominate as Gurbaz’s knock was ended by Karn Sharma after he was caught by Akash for 57 off 44 balls. His knock had six fours and three sixes. A catch by Virat Kohli helped Karn get the big wicket of Andre Russell for a golden duck. Half of the KKR line-up was in the pavilion for 89 runs in 11.3 overs.
Shardul Thakur was next up on the crease and announced his arrival with a first-ball four past leg stump. He upped the attack by smashing Akash Deep for two fours and a six in the 13th over, which gave away 19 runs.
KKR crossed the 100-run mark in 12.2 overs.
Thakur continued his counter-attack, smashing Bracewell for two sixes in the 15th over. At the end of 15 overs, KKR was at 140/5, with Shardul unbeaten at 42 in just 15 balls, with Rinku (20* in 19 balls) supporting him from the other end. The duo reached the 50-run stand in 21 balls.
Shardul brought up his maiden IPL half-century in just 20 balls, his knock consisted of six fours and three sixes. KKR crossed the 150-run mark in 16.2 overs.
Rinku smashed Harshal for two sixes and a four in the 19th over, bringing up 100 run stand in just 45 balls. However, Harshal succeeded in putting an end to the partnership by dismissing Rinku for 46 off 33 balls, consisting of two fours and three sixes. KKR was 192/6 in 19 overs.
Siraj ended Shardul’s game-changing 29-ball stay at the crease for 68 runs, consisting of nine fours and three sixes after a catch by Glenn Maxwell. KKR was 198/7 in 19.4 overs.
KKR crossed the 200-run mark in 19.5 overs.
KKR ended their innings at 204/7 in 20 overs, with Umesh Yadav (6*) and Sunil Narine (0*) unbeaten. RCB’s death bowling was a culprit as the side gave away 57 runs in the final four overs.
Willey was the pick of the bowlers for RCB, taking 2/16 in his four overs. Karn Sharma also took 2/26 in his three overs. Harshal, Bracewell and Siraj managed one wicket each.
Brief Scores: KKR: 204/7 (Shardul Thakur 68, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 54, David Willey 2/16) vs RCB. (ANI)

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