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IPL 2023: Shardul Rescues KKR, Varun Finishes The Job in 81 Run Win Over RCB

Playing at number 7, Shardul Thakur smashed 68 off 29 deliveries.

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A near-perfect outing by the Kolkata Knight Riders as Royal Challengers Bangalore were dominated on all fronts, and defeated by 81 runs in Match 9 of IPL 2023, on Thursday night at the Eden Gardens.

After Shardul Thakur slammed the joint-fastest fifty of the season while Rahmanullah Gurbaz hit a stroke-filled half-century and Rinku Singh chipped in with a vital 46 to propel KKR to a mammoth 204/7, Kolkata's three mystery spinners bamboozled the RCB batters to bowl them out for 123 in 17.4 overs.

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While Narine set the base for the demolition job with 2/16 in four overs, Chakaravarthy was the star of the show with his quicker deliveries to pick 4/15 in 3.4 overs, including 13 dot balls. The 19-year old Suyash Sharma left a huge impression in his very first game of professional cricket, finishing with 3/30 in four overs, with 11 dot balls to show.

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Kolkata Were Put Into Bat First

Afghan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz began by feasting on width or short balls from Mohammed Siraj, and being quick in cutting him through backward point, point and short third man for boundaries.

But at the other end, David Willey rocked Kolkata by castling Venkatesh Iyer through the gate with a short delivery angled in from around the wicket. On the very next ball, he got a length ball to nip away to beat the outside edge of Mandeep Singh and crash into his off-stump.

There was no stopping Gurbaz though as he pulled Akash Deep over short fine leg for six and then whacked Willey over the same region for four. After Nitish Rana gloved a reverse sweep to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik off Michael Bracewell, Gurbaz attacked him and Shahbaz Ahmed with his fierce sweeps, last of which went for six, to bring up his fifty.

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Playing at number 7, Shardul Thakur smashed 68 off 29 deliveries.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz of Kolkata Knight Riders celebrates his half century during match 9 of the Tata Indian Premier League between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers Bangalore held at the Eden Gardens Stadium, Kolkata, on the 6th April 2023

(Photo: BCCI)

Karn Sharma then led Bangalore's fightback with back-to-back strikes in the 12th over -- Gurbaz reverse-swept to short third man while Andre Russell holed out to long-off for a golden duck.

Then came Thakur and provided much-needed momentum to Kolkata's innings -- hitting two fours and six off Akash, before sweeping off Karn.

He used his feet very well in slamming Bracewell for a brace of sixes over mid-wicket fence, before flat-batting off Willey for a boundary. Thakur brought up his maiden IPL fifty in 20 balls with a fierce pull in the gap between long-on and deep mid-wicket off Harshal Patel.

RCB's death bowling woes came up to the fore yet again as full tosses, including one above the waist and half-volleys were being easily dispatched by Thakur and Rinku for boundaries. Though Rinku gloved a bouncer from Harshal and Thakur pulled to mid-wicket off Siraj, Umesh Yadav hit a four through mid-off to ensure Kolkata crossed 200-mark.

Playing at number 7, Shardul Thakur smashed 68 off 29 deliveries.

Kolkata: KKR batter Shardul Thakur celebrates his half century during IPL 2023 match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Garden in Kolkata, Thursday, April 6, 2023.

(Photo: PTI)

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Bangalore's Chase

Virat Kohli began the chase of 205 clipping a half-volley outside leg stump from Umesh Yadav for four and ended the opening over with another boundary slashed in the gap between third man and backward point.

He and Faf du Plessis hit Tim Southee for two fours and as many sixes each in the fourth over yielding 23 runs. But from there, the Narine-Chakravarthy show began to blow away RCB.

Kohli played across the line against Narine, but missed the ball and was castled through the gate in the fifth over. In the next over, du Plessis went for an expansive drive against a fuller ball from Chakravarthy but got an inside edge to his stumps.

In his next over, Chakaravarthy's quicker googly beat the inside edge of Glenn Maxwell to crash into the stumps. Two balls later, he ended Harshal Patel's promotion by extracting an inside edge to crash into the stumps.

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More misery followed Bangalore as Shahbaz Ahmed picked out deep point with his reverse sweep off Narine, as half the side was back in the hut in 8.5 overs. Michael Bracewell put up some resistance with two boundaries, but gloved a pull off Thakur to diving short fine leg.

Impact player Anuj Rawat tried to slog-sweep against debutant spinner Suyash, but found short third man. Three balls later, Suyash struck again when Dinesh Karthik went for the loft, but outside edge flew to short third man.

In his next over, Suyash had Karn Sharma sweeping to slip and got his wicket as replays showed a faint bottom edge. Varun finished off the proceedings by keeping his eyes on the ball and running to mid-wicket to complete a stunning caught and bowled dismissal of Akash Deep.

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Topics:  Shardul Thakur   IPL 2023 

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