Kolkata Knight Riders versus Royal Challengers Bangalore matches in the Indian Premier League have always been tense affairs. Thursday night's contest in Sharjah was no different with KKR snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
RCB made a mockery of a rather easy target. Chasing 151 for a win, RCB fell two runs shorts as their 20 overs ran out. With two of the world's best chasers in their ranks, RCB's defeat was simply stunning. Skipper Virat Kohli and record 14-crore buy Yuvraj Singh scored identical scores of 31 runs, but it was KKR that had the last laugh. (KKR vs RCB: As it happened)
KKR have won seven and lost six out of 13 contested versus RCB in IPL - winning percentage 53.84. KKR's thrilling victory by two runs is their narrowest by runs margin, outstripping the five-run win vs RCB in Kolkata on May 8, 2008.
But KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir continued his horrible form in the tournament. He was trapped LBW by RCB's Aussie pacer Mitchell Starc for a first-ball duck. Gambhir is the third batsman after Ashok Dinda and Rahul Sharma to record three successive ducks in IPL. He is the first captain to earn the dubious distinction of recording three ducks in-a-row in IPL. (Gambhir's hattrick of ducks!)
With a record eight ducks in IPL as skipper, Gambhir now has 15 scores of zero to his credit in T20s. This is a new low for the former Indian opener who is desperately eyeing a Team India comeback.
Some interesting statistics from Thursday's KKR vs RCB match:
# Chris Lynn (45 off 31 balls) top-scored in the match in his first game for KKR. Lynn also got his first MOM.
# RCB quickie Varun Aaron (3/16) produced his best bowling performance in T20s
# Sunil Narine's tally of 52 wickets at 14.01 runs apiece in 34 matches is the highest by a KKR bowler in IPL.
# Jacques Kallis (43) took his tally to 2391 (ave. 31.79) in 93 matches -- the fifth highest in IPL.
# Only three bowlers have claimed more wickets than KKR's Vinay Kumar's 86 in 80 matches at the IPL -- Lasith Malinga (108), Amit Mishra (99) and RP Singh (87).
(With inputs from Rajesh Kumar)