Skipper Virat Kohli smashed 84 off 49 deliveries but his knock went in vain as Royal Challengers Bangalore slumped to their fifth successive defeat in the Indian Premier League on Friday.
Batsman Andre Russell with his 13-ball 48 stole Kohli’s thunder as Kolkata Knight Riders chased down their target of 206 with five balls to spare at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium. They won by five wickets.
The India captain, with 5,110 runs, surpassed Chennai Super Kings batsman Suresh Raina’s record of 5,086 runs to top the all-time batting chart in the Twenty20 tournament.
But his team are approaching the IPL’s most dismal record held by Delhi Capitals (earlier Delhi Daredevils) of six straight losses at the start of the 2013 edition.
“The last four overs, the way we bowled, we deserve to lose. If you bowl with not enough bravery in the crunch overs, then you will always struggle against power-hitters like Russell,” said Kohli.
“We cracked a bit under pressure, and that’s the only story. Had we got 20-25 more, maybe it would have helped. But if you can’t defend 75 in the last four overs, then I don’t know if you can defend 100.
“It’s been a disappointing season, but we have to believe we can turn things around.”
The burly Russell, a top all-rounder from West Indies, took the game away from Bangalore with one four and seven sixes.
With KKR needing 66 from the last four overs, Russell hit the ball to all parts of the ground to take apart the Bangalore bowling.
“I am always confident. When I went out, DK (skipper Dinesh Karthik) was saying we need to watch a few balls. I was watching on the telly, and I wasn’t thinking too much,” said Russell.
“We needed to get 68 from 28 balls, and that doesn’t happen everyday. We just had to put our bodies on the line. That’s the nature of T20 cricket.”
Earlier Kohli put together a 108-run second-wicket partnership with South African great AB de Villiers, who hit 63 off 32 balls as Bangalore posted 205-3 in 20 overs.
The 77-Test veteran, who is under fire for the lacklustre showing of his team that has never won an IPL title, took the attack to the opposition with nine fours and two big sixes.
He reached his 35th IPL fifty — coming after seven innings — with a boundary off leg-spinner Piyush Chawla as the home crowd erupted with applause.
De Villiers also joined the party with some impressive hitting to bring up his fifty with a boundary off paceman Prasidh Krishna. His blitz was studded with five fours and four sixes.
Kohli was caught and bowled by left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav before Sunil Narine had De Villiers trudging back to the pavilion.
Marcus Stoinis played a crucial cameo of 28 not out to take Bangalore past the 200-run mark.