Sunil Narine played an inspirational role with the ball and then provided a boost with the bat as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore with two balls remaining to move to within one match of their first Indian Premier League final since 2014.

First, Narine (4-21) was essential in ensuring Bangalore could only set a modest target of 138 runs as he took a match-high four wickets, and then his arrival at the crease provided KKR with direction at just the right time as they ultimately reached 139-6.

Delhi Capitals await in the next round as they prepare to tussle for the right to face Chennai Super Kings in the final, marking an incredible turnaround in KKR's fortunes after winning only two of their first seven matches prior to the season's suspension in May.

Bangalore had initially looked in good shape as Virat Kohli (39) and Devdutt Padikkal (21) helped them to 49-0 after five overs, before the latter went to Lockie Ferguson at the start of the sixth.

They did not lose another wicket until Narine's first over in the 10th as he tempted Srikar Bharat to pick out Venkatesh Iyer. The same man then accounted for captain Kohli, who misjudged a delivery when going for a slog sweep, AB de Villiers (11) and Glenn Maxwell (15) to put KKR in complete control.

Shubman Gill (29) started the chase well, but KKR hit something of a rut and were 79-3 through 11 overs when Narine came in to again turn the tide.

Three sixes from the first three legal deliveries he faced on his way to 26 set KKR on course, even if RCB forced an intriguing finish when Mohammed Siraj claimed Narine and then Dinesh Karthik (10) in the 18th over.

Seven from Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al Hasan off four balls in the final over got the job done.

 

Narine the double threat

This was a wonderful showing from Narine, further highlighting the surprising nature of his omission from the West Indies squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. His four wickets were twice as many as anyone else, while RCB only took 21 runs from his deliveries. He then gave KKR the kick up the backside that they needed with the bat, initially getting 23 runs from just nine balls.

Christian taken for a ride

The main difference between these sides on the day, and Kohli accepted as much afterwards, was the bowling. Dan Christian may have only bowled 1.4 overs, but that was an exceptionally expensive cameo, costing 29 runs, the joint-most of the RCB bowlers.

Srikar Bharat struck a match-winning six off the final delivery as the Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Indian Premier League leaders the Delhi Capitals on Friday.

Chasing a target of 164-5, it looked likely that Virat Kohli's men would fall short until a dramatic final over in Dubai.

With six runs needed off the final ball, Avesh Khan (0-31) bowled a wide to give Bharat one more chance, and his final full toss was powered over the ropes to give the Royal Challengers a seven-wicket win.

The Capitals started in commanding fashion after being put in to bat, Prithvi Shaw (48) and Shikhar Dhawan (43) combining for 88 until the latter was caught at mid-off.

Captain Rishabh Pant fell for just 10 runs shortly after Shaw sliced a shot straight to George Garton, with Shreyas Iyer (18) and Shimron Hetmyer (29) helping to push the target score into tricky territory.

When Devdutt Padikkal went for a golden duck and Kohli followed after posting just four runs, the Royal Challengers' task began to look firmly beyond their means.

That was until the intervention of Glenn Maxwell (51) and man-of-the-match Bharat. An unbeaten 78 off just 52 deliveries, aided by some lacklustre work in the field, kept the improbable in sight even after AB de Villiers' promising knock of 26 was ended before the midway point of the innings.

Maxwell reached his half-century to start the final over before Bharat's heroics sparked wild celebrations.

More Capitals gains for Kohli

The Capitals were on a run of just one defeat in seven IPL matches but came unstuck against arguably their least-favourite opponents.

The Royal Challengers have won 16 of 25 completed matches in the competition against Delhi – against no side have they won more.

It was a frustrating way for the Capitals to head into Sunday's first qualifier with the second-place Chennai Super Kings, while the Royal Challengers will be buoyed ahead of their eliminator with the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Two grand batters

Maxwell's 51, which included eight fours, saw him become the eighth Australian to reach 2,000 runs in the IPL.

Dhawan also surpassed the 2,000-run mark, a feat only achieved previously by three players for the Capitals in the competition.

Jason Roy led the way as Sunrisers Hyderabad claimed a shock four-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi.

Roy hit 44 as the Sunrisers, who sit bottom of the table with their play-off hopes already over, earned only their third win of a torrid Indian Premier League season at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Already assured of a play-off berth, RCB were aiming for a fourth successive victory that would strengthen their hopes of finishing in the top two.

Virat Kohli's side were set a target of 142 and headed into the final over needing 13, following knocks of 41 and 40 from Devdutt Padikkal and Glenn Maxwell respectively.

AB de Villiers, who finished on 19 not out, edged RCB closer to the total with a huge six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's fourth ball of the final over to leave six required from the last two deliveries.

However, Kumar showed all of his experience to wrap up the victory, conceding just one run off his final two balls, as RCB fell narrowly short on 137-6.

Joy for Roy

The England opener made a top-scoring contribution for the Sunrisers, with a knock of 44 from 38 balls.

He and skipper Kane Williamson hit combined in a 70-run partnership in 9.4 overs to provide the platform for their side to build upon.


History for Patel

Despite the defeat, it was a historic day for Harshal Patel, who set a new record of most wickets by an Indian bowler in an IPL season as he surpassed Jasprit Bumrah's tally from the previous season (27).

The right-arm bowler claimed an impressive 3-33 as he dismissed Williamson, Wriddhiman Saha and Jason Holder.

That took Patel's tally in this season's IPL to 29; seven clear of nearest challenger Avesh Khan, who has impressed for the Delhi Capitals this term.

Royal Challengers Bangalore sealed an Indian Premier League play-off spot thanks to a six-run win over Punjab Kings on Sunday.

Glenn Maxwell smashed 57 from just 33 deliveries as Royal Challengers made 164-7 after opting to bat first, the highest total posted at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium since the 2021 season resumed.

Punjab Kings had won each of the three previous games against their opponents staged in the United Arab Emirates, and they looked well set to extend that streak when opening duo KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal impressed again, putting on a 91-run stand.

However, the innings lost momentum after Rahul departed for 39, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (3-29) turning the tide in his side's favour.

Agarwal would end up top-scoring with 57, but the Kings came up short in the final reckoning, ending on 158-6 as Bangalore's bowlers held their nerve in the closing stages.

While Punjab missed the chance to move into the play-off positions, Bangalore are certain to finish the round-robin stage in the top four after ending a three-match losing run at the venue.

Taking it to the Max

While Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal made 25 and 40 respectively at the top of the Bangalore order, both struggled to force the pace before being dismissed by Moises Henriques, who finished with 3-12. However, Maxwell had no such problems, smashing four sixes in a knock that was eventually ended when he became one of three wickets for Mohammed Shami (3-39) in an eventful final over.

Rahul on top, Kings in trouble

Rahul is back on top of the IPL's run-scoring list for the campaign; he has now managed 528 in 12 innings at an outstanding average of 52.80. His dismissal to Shahbaz Ahmed changed the complexion of proceedings, though, as his team fell away down the stretch to suffer a painful defeat.

Glenn Maxwell scored his 10th Indian Premier League fifty as Royal Challengers Bangalore cruised to a seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals.

Australia star Maxwell scored 50 not out from 30 deliveries as RCB comfortably chased down their target of 150 with 17 balls to spare, finishing on 153-3.

Maxwell put on 69 with wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat (44), a partnership that ended any doubt over the outcome of the match after a brief hiccup when captain Virat Kohli (25) was run out.

Having been put in to bat by Kohli, Rajasthan had earlier looked like they were cruising to a huge total when they reached 100-1 after 11 overs, but the dismissal of opener Evin Lewis - who had smashed 58 runs off 37 balls - sparked a collapse to 149-9.

Yuzvendra Chahal (2-18) and Shahbaz Ahmed (2-10) impressed, with their combined six overs producing four wickets at an economy rate of 4.67, while debutant George Garton (1-30) was the man to remove Lewis.

Maxwell then racked up six fours and a sole maximum in an easy run chase for RCB, with Mustafizur Rahman (2-20) the only Rajasthan bowler to offer up any meaningful resistance.

More misery for Rajasthan against RCB

Rajasthan Royals have now lost their last four matches against RCB, extending what was already their longest active losing streak against a single opponent in the IPL.

With three straight losses, a playoff berth is starting to look like a tough ask for Rajasthan in contrast to RCB, who sit comfortably in third place after responding to a three-game losing run with two consecutive victories, Maxwell getting a fifty in both triumphs.

Fine season for Harshal continues

Harshal Patel (3-34) was already the leader in the purple cap race with 23 wickets coming into the match, having become only the fourth RCB player in IPL history to record a hat-trick last time out against Mumbai Indians.

It looked like he was in for a frustrating outing here but his persistence paid off as he claimed three wickets in the last over of a Rajasthan innings that went downhill rapidly, extending his advantage atop the standings.

Glenn Maxwell starred with bat and ball and Harshal Patel took a hat-trick as Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated Mumbai Indians by 54 runs in Sunday's Indian Premier League clash.

RCB's captain Virat Kohil, who is set to stand down at the end of the season, laid the foundations with 51 before Srikar Bharat (32) and Maxwell (56) led their side to 165 from their 20 overs.

It could have been far more, however, if it was not for death-bowling pair Jasprit Bumrah (3-36) and Trent Boult (1-17), who combined well to limit Kohli's side to what seemed like a par score before Bangalore's bowlers fought back excellently.

Rohit Sharma (43) and Quinton de Kock (24) looked to have continued the momentum by putting on 56 inside the powerplay, but the latter fell to Yuzendra Chahal (3-11) before the India opener was removed by Maxwell.

Ishan Kishan and Krunal Pandya quickly followed to the same spinning pair, leaving Mumbai 93-4 with seven overs to go.

Patel inflicted further misery as he ran through the middle and lower-order batters, removing Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Rahul Chahar to secure a memorable hat-trick as Mumbai were bowled out for just 111 with 11 balls remaining.

Brilliant Bumrah and Boult

Bumrah removed two of Bangalore's dangermen in Maxwell and AB de Villiers in the space of two balls to kick-start a miserly death-bowling spell, which ultimately proved in vain.

The India quick would eventually finish with an economy of nine as he managed dot balls with a third of his deliveries, while Boult produced four more dots and finished impressively with an economy of just over four.

King Kohli's captaincy decisions pay off

Kohli seemed to get every decision right. Mohammed Siraj ran straight to Kohli following his dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav, suggesting a plan between the pair had come off before another bowling change paid off as well.

Dan Christian, despite his first over going for 15, was brought back by Kohli and his following set of six went for just a run a ball as every decision Kohli made seemed to turn to gold, with RCB limiting Mumbai throughout the middle overs to coast to a comfortable win.

Dwayne Bravo and Ruturaj Gaikwad starred as Chennai Super Kings returned to the top of the Indian Premier League with a six-wicket defeat of Royal Challengers Bangalore.

RCB slumped to a nine-wicket loss at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders after they were bowled out for only 92 on Monday in their first game since the tournament resumed.

They looked set to post an imposing total at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday after Devdutt Padikkal (70 off 50 balls) and captain Virat Kohli (53 from 41) put on 111 for the first wicket, but could only finish with 156-6.

Bravo (3-24) and Shardul Thakur (2-29) put the brakes on as Kohli's third-placed side lost their way after the start had been delayed due to a sandstorm.

An opening stand of 71 from 8.2 overs between the in-form Gaikwad (38 off 26) and Faf du Plessis (31 from 26) set CSK on their way to a seventh win in nine matches.

Ambati Rayudu (32) and Moeen Ali (23) also chipped in before vastly experienced duo Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni got the Super Kings home with 11 balls to spare, moving them above Delhi Capitals on net run-rate.

 

OPENERS LAY RCB FOUNDATIONS

The dangerous Padikkal and Kohli got RCB off to a great start after they were put in by MS Dhoni, taking 55 off the powerplay.

Padikkal was the first to raise his bat, bringing up his sixth IPL half-century by dispatching Deepak Chahar for four, and Kohli struck Ravindra Jadeja to the boundary to reach his fifty soon after.

RCB lost their way after Kohli was removed by Bravo in the 14th over, with Padikkal - who struck three sixes - falling straight after Shardul Thakur got rid of AB de Villiers in the South Africa legend's 150th match for just 12.

 

GAIKWAD IN GREAT NICK

Gaikwad made a brilliant unbeaten 88 in CSK's victory over defending champions Mumbai Indians and the opener maintained his form five days later.

The 24-year-old and Du Plessis got the Super Kings ahead of the rate in a great start to the run chase, the South Africa batsman clearing the ropes twice and Gaikwad hitting one six.

Both batsman fell in consecutive overs, but CSK kept wickets in hand and stayed ahead of the rate, with Raina and Dhoni finished off the job.

Andre Russell and Varan Chakravarthy combined to destroy the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s batting on the way to a comprehensive nine-wicket win for the Kolkata Knight Riders with 10 overs to spare on Monday.

Russell, who bowled 18 balls, took the remarkable figures of 3-9 that included the wicket of the dangerous AB de Villiers for a first-ball duck as RCB plunged to 92 all out in 19 overs in Abu Dhabi. Chakravarthy was equally destructive with figures of 3-13 during his four-over spell in which he got the prized wicket Virat Kohli for five.

Of the RCB batsmen, only Devdutt Padikkal, who top-scored with 22, Srikar Bharat, 16, Glen Maxwell, 10 and Harshel Patel, 12, managed to get into double figures against the stifling and penetrative KKR bowling attack. Lockie Ferguson also got his piece of the action with 2-24.

In reply, Shubman Gill and Ventakesh Iyer scored at better than eight runs an over putting on 82 for the first wicket. The partnership was broken when Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed Gill for 48 first ball of the tenth over.

Andre Russell, who replaced Gill, did not face a single delivery as Iyer hit fours from Chahal’s third, fifth and sixth deliveries to complete the commanding win.

 

The Indian Premier League has confirmed two positive coronavirus cases in the Kolkata Knight Riders squad, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier both tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating away from the squad.

The rest of the Knight Riders' group returned negative results, though a daily testing schedule has now been put in place to quickly identify any further cases that occur.

No new date for the round-robin game against the Royal Challengers has been announced.

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 19million since the start of the global pandemic.

However, this is the first time there have been confirmed cases within the IPL bubble. The Twenty20 tournament returned to India this year after the 2020 edition was staged in the United Arab Emirates.

"Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for COVID -19," a statement on the IPL website read.

"Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The medical team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest.

"The medical team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample that returned the positive test results.

"The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the Kolkata Knight Riders prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved and all measures are being taken in that endeavour."

Kolkata sit seventh in the IPL table after two wins in seven games. They lost by seven wickets to Delhi Capitals in their most recent outing, which took place last Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

KL Rahul scored another magnificent half-century and Harpreet Brar tormented Royal Challengers Bangalore in a 34-run Indian Premier League win for Punjab Kings.

Captain Rahul replaced Shikhar Dhawan as the leading run-scorer in the tournament with a scintillating 91 off 57 balls, getting Kings up to 179-5 after Virat Kohli put them in.

Chris Gayle also smashed a rapid 46 from 24 balls before Rahul and Harpreet provided a late flurry at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday.

RCB fell well short in reply with the Kings attack giving nothing away, Kohli top scoring with 35 as they could only muster 145-8 in Ahmedabad.

They never got going in the run chase and lost six wickets for 34 runs, with spinner Harpreet sparking the collapse by bowling Kohli before cleaning up Glenn Maxwell for a golden duck off the next ball in a double-wicket maiden.

Harpreet claimed outstanding figures of 3-19, while fellow tweaker Ravi Bishnoi finished with a brilliant 2-17 in a resounding victory.

Harshal Patel (31) and Kyle Jamieson (16 not out) combined for an eighth-wicket stand of 48, but the damage had been done as Kings moved up to fifth, consigning third-placed RCB to only a second defeat.

 

RCB have no answer to Rahul

Punjab skipper Rahul must wish he could play against RCB more often, as they have not managed to get him out since 2019.

The India batsman was imperious once again, bringing up his fourth half-century of the tournament off 35 balls after Gayle had taken 20 off a Jamieson over and struck Yuzvendra Chahal for two sixes in the next before gloving a Daniel Sams delivery behind.

Harshal, the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, went for 53 runs off his four wicket-less overs - the last of the innings costing 22 as Rahul and Harpreet (25 not out from 17) cut loose.

 

Harp calls the tune

Riley Meredith struck an early blow by removing Devdutt Padikkal's off stump before the Kings spinners came to the fore.

RCB were struggling on 36-1 at the end of the powerplay and were well behind the run rate when Kohli came down the track to Harpreet but lost his off stump.

Harpreet was on a hat-trick after bamboozling Maxwell with a peach of a delivery that clicked his off stump. It was pretty much game over when the same bowler had AB de Villiers caught at extra cover by Rahul, with Rajat Patidar soon following for 31.

Australia internationals Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa are returning home from the Indian Premier League, while Ravichandran Ashwin has announced he is taking a break from the tournament.

Fast bowler Richardson played once in the 2021 edition, taking 1-29 from three overs in Bangalore's 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on April 22.

Leg-spinner Zampa, however, did not feature for the Royal Challengers, who confirmed the departure of the duo for personal reasons.

"Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are returning to Australia for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of #IPL2021. Royal Challengers Bangalore management respects their decision and offers them complete support," a statement on Twitter read.

Andrew Tye had become the first Australian to depart the IPL bubble on Sunday, a decision made by the Rajasthan Royals fast bowler over concerns about flights home amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in India.

The country has been setting global records for daily figures, with over 17million confirmed cases in total during the pandemic.

"I just thought I should try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country," Tye told radio station SEN while in Doha awaiting to complete his journey to Australia.

"There's definitely concerns. A lot of guys have been in touch once they've realised I was leaving. Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it."

A three-day snap lockdown was placed on the Perth and Peel areas of Western Australia last week amid concerns over coronavirus spreading within communities.

Ashwin, meanwhile, is leaving the Delhi Capitals squad to focus on helping his family during the coronavirus crisis.

"I would be taking a break from this year's IPL from tomorrow," he tweeted on Sunday. "My family and extended family are putting up a fight against COVID-19 and I want to support them during these tough times. I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you."

Ashwin has taken one wicket and posted an economy rate of 7.73 runs per over in his five outings for the Capitals, who defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday to make it four wins in five outings.

Ravindra Jadeja produced an utterly remarkable all-round performance as Chennai Super Kings extinguished Royal Challengers Bangalore's 100 per cent record with a thumping 69-run Indian Premier League victory.

Bangalore's attack combined to shackle Chennai to reasonable effect until Jadeja – dropped on nought by Dan Christian – laid waste to the final over of the innings from Harshal Patel (3-51), taking advantage of a no ball to bludgeon 37 and finish on 62 not out in a total of 191-4.

The Royal Challengers will still have harboured high hopes after Devdutt Padikkal and skipper Virat Kohli chased down 178 without loss against Rajasthan Royals last time out, but there was to be no repeat of those heroics as they staggered to 122-9, Jadeja starring with 3-13 and a run out.

Faf du Plessis scored 50 for Chennai and combined in an opening stand of 74 with Ruturaj Gaikwad (33) to lay a solid foundation, although Kohli cajoled his attack in typical fashion to keep the Super Kings on a leash, with Harshal to the fore.

The right-armer's outing unravelled in spectacular fashion, though, seeing a length ball and a missed yorker disappear before over-stepping as Jadeja smoked him over midwicket.

The additional delivery was similarly dispatched by the India all-rounder to bring up a 25-ball fifty, before a drop at extra cover allowed Jadeja to swipe a full toss beyond long-on and score four more through square leg to complete the humiliation.

Buoyed by his majestic century last time out, Padikkal went briskly about his work, although he pulled Shardul Thakur to Suresh Raina to depart for 34.

Kohli had already edged Sam Curran behind by that point and Jadeja ensured there was no way back for RCB. He had Washington Sundar caught at long-on from the second ball of his spell, while running out Christian in between bowling Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers showed everything the slow left-armer touched turned to gold.

Veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir took 2-16 and ran out Kyle Jamieson for 16 as Bangalore fell well short and Chennai went top of the table.

Record-equalling Ravi enjoys a performance to savour

Jadeja's merciless flogging of Harshal equalled the record for runs scored in a single IPL over – Chris Gayle having taken Prasanth Parameswaran of the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala for 37 when in RCB colours back in 2011. Scott Styris' 38 at James Fuller's expense for Sussex against Gloucestershire in 2012 remains the all-time T20 record.

Harsh on Harshal

If ever anyone had due cause to lament T20 as a batsman's game, it was poor old Harshal. For three overs, he bowled beautifully and approached that fateful final set of six with figures of 3-14. Raina and Du Plessis departed in successive balls to leave him on a hat-trick, Harshal's off-cutters proving a tough code to crack until Jadeja explosively intervened.

Devdutt Padikkal made a magnificent century and Virat Kohli became the first player to reach 6,000 Indian Premier League runs as Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed Rajasthan Royals by 10 wickets.

RCB made it four wins out of four to go top of the table courtesy of a magnificent run chase from their openers at Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

The second-bottom Royals posted 177-9 in Mumbai following a poor start to their innings after Kohli put them in, Shivam Dube top-scoring with 46 and Rahul Tewatia making 40.

Mohammed Siraj was the pick of the RCB bowlers with figures of 3-27, while Harshal Patel claimed 3-47.

The imperious Padikkal and Kohli made light work of chasing down their target in only 16.3 overs, dishing out some brutal treatment in a sublime stand.

Padikkal made his highest IPL total with a sensational 101 not out from only 52 balls and Kohli was unbeaten on a classy 72 from 47 deliveries when RCB reached their victory target.

Big-money signing Chris Morris was among the Royals bowlers to suffer, going for 38 from three overs, while Shreyas Gopal (0-35) also struggled and Tewatia's two overs cost 23 runs.

A dominant win for RCB puts them two points clear at the summit in what has been a dream start to the tournament for Kohli's side.


Siraj strikes big early blows

India seamer Siraj struck two huge early blows as the Royals were reduced to 18-3 in the fifth over after being put in by Kohli.

He rattled Jos Buttler's off stump to send the wicketkeeper-batsman on his way for only eight and saw the back of David Miller for a second-ball duck, trapping the South Africa batsman leg before with a yorker.

Washington Sundar removed the dangerous Sanju Samson straight after he had hit him for six, before clean striking and improvisation from Dube and Tewatia - who had two sixes apiece - got Rajasthan up to a more competitive score than they had been in danger of posting.

 

Padikkal and Kohli put on a show

Padikkal was the main aggressor as RCB got the run chase off to a flyer, dominating the strike as Kohli ticked over at the other end.

It took Padikkal just 28 balls to reach his half-century and Bangalore had 107 on the board just 10 overs in.

Kohli clicked through the gears as he reached yet another landmark and Paddikal brought up a maiden IPL century in the 17th over, with victory almost secure. He cleared the rope six times and hit another 11 boundaries, while Kohli struck three sixes and six fours in a batting masterclass from the openers.

Royal Challengers Bangalore continued their unbeaten start to the Indian Premier League as AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell powered them to victory over Kolkata Knight Riders.

The sole team yet to taste defeat in this season's competition, RCB surged to 204-4 thanks to an exceptional innings from Maxwell (78) and De Villiers' unbeaten 76.

Their respective displays contributed to three successive partnerships of over 50 runs to help RCB emphatically recover from a shaky start and post an imposing total.

KKR never found the necessary momentum to threaten that target despite a late salvo from Andre Russell (31) as RCB eased to a 38-run win.

Varun Chakravarthy removed both Virat Kohli (5) and Rajat Patidar (1) in the second over to reduce RCB to 9-2.

However, Maxwell and Devdutt Padikkal constructed a stand of 86 for the third wicket, laying the platform for De Villiers to hit the accelerator upon his arrival at the crease.

Maxwell and De Villiers combined for 53 off just 37 deliveries and, after the Australian was bounced out by compatriot Pat Cummins, the South African took command as he contributed 43 runs to a 20-ball, 56-run stand with Kyle Jamieson.

KKR saw a promising start to their reply undone as they slumped from 57-1 to 114-5 when skipper Eoin Morgan sliced Harshal Patel to opposing captain Kohli.

Russell gave them hope of a remarkable turnaround in the 17th over, in which he struck Yuzvendra Chahal for a six and three fours.

He then hit Jamieson for a maximum in the next over but that preceded the exits of Shakib Al Hasan and Cummins at the hands of the New Zealand international.

And the contest was settled by some superb death bowling from Mohammed Siraj in the penultimate over, with Russell then playing Harshal onto his stumps as a seemingly exciting finale gave way to a meek end.

Devastating De Villiers

Having been dismissed for one in RCB's last game with Sunrisers Hyderabad, De Villiers was back to his best with a 34-ball 76. His strike rate of 223.52 is the second-highest of any innings this season where the batsman has scored at least 50, behind Deepak Hooda's 28-ball 64 (228.57) for Punjab Kings against Rajasthan Royals.

Siraj stems the tide

Russell's surge was stopped firmly in its tracks by Siraj, who effectively clinched victory for RCB as his final over went for just one run, producing five successive dot balls as a frustrated Russell kept the strike while unable to find the boundary.

Royal Challengers Bangalore made it two wins from two in the Indian Premier League as Sunrisers Hyderabad's miserable record at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium continued on Wednesday.

Glenn Maxwell hit his first half-century in the tournament since 2016 as the Royal Challengers – who had beaten defending champions Mumbai Indians in their opening fixture – posted 149-8 after being put into bat.

Hyderabad appeared on course to prevail in pursuit of their target when they reached 96-1, only for the departure of captain David Warner – caught in the deep for 54 - to trigger a dramatic collapse.

Shahbaz Ahmed claimed three wickets in an over, including Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey with back-to-back deliveries, to completely change the complexion of a run chase that fell apart.

While Rashid Khan made 17 in a hurry the Sunrisers still finished up six runs short on 143-9, meaning they have still yet to win a completed fixture at the venue in Chennai.

Bangalore's innings had been similar too, captain Virat Kohli making 33 before his departure to Jason Holder started a mid-innings wobble, his team slipping from 91-2 to 109-6.

However, Maxwell eventually mastered the tough batting conditions, producing a late onslaught as 39 runs came from the final three overs. He was dismissed off the last delivery of the innings for 59, caught behind to give Holder final figures of 3-30.

Taking it to the Max

Maxwell endured a lean 2020 IPL campaign in the United Arab Emirates, averaging 15.42 for Kings XI Punjab as he made only 108 runs. Having been released ahead of the auction, Bangalore already appear to be getting plenty for their money.

The Australian has now scored 98 runs in his two innings for the Royal Challengers, who sit on top of the table in the embryonic stages of the season.

Chennai trouble for chasing teams

After Kolkata Knight Riders had faltered in pursuit of a 153-run target to lose narrowly against Mumbai at the ground 24 hours earlier, Sunrisers let the same situation happen when seemingly well on top.

Shahbaz (3-7) bowled only two overs, yet the second from the left-arm spinner saw Bairstow, Pandey - who struggled to up the pace as he made 38 from 39 balls - and Abdul Samad all caught off top-edged attempts to go big to the leg side.

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