Kolkata, Apr 8 (PTI) Part-time spinner Nitish Rana struck twice in a sensational one-over spell before Mandeep Singh smashed a whirlwind 18-ball 37 to take Royal Challengers Bangalore to a challenging 176-7 against Kolkata Knights Riders in their opening match of IPL 11 at the Edens Gardens here today.

Opener Brendon McCullum set it up for RCB with a sensational 27-ball 43 (6×4, 2×6) while AB de Villiers made the Eden Gardens crowd cheer for them with his scintillating 23-ball 44, which was studded with five mouth-watering sixes and one boundary.

Indian captain Virat Kohli (31 off 33) played the second fiddle and after RCB’s star batsmen left the crease, it was a blazing cameo by Mandeep Singh which ensured RCB post a challenging total on board.

With de Villiers blazing all guns at one point their run graph was looking past 200 but part-time off-spinner Rana produced twin dismissals in two balls — De Villiers and Kohli — to reduce RCB for 127/4 in 14.2 overs.

De Villiers top edged, while Rana yorked Kohli to break the quickfire 64 runs partnership off 36 balls as KKR pulled things back but Mandeep Singh produced a scintillating 18-ball 37 — with two sixes and a four against Vinay Kumar in the last over — to help RCB post 176 for 7.

Credit to Vinay Kumar, who scalped two wickets of his last two deliveries to pull things back a bit.

Bowling with a remodelled action after his latest call of suspect action in the Pakistan Super League last month, Sunil Narine returned with 1/30 while fellow mate Andre Russell conceded 10 runs from two overs.

Earlier, McCullum once again shone in a debut innings for the Bangalore franchise and became the second player to complete 9000 T20 runs.

His innings gave RCB a flying start with 52/1 in the Powerplay before Narine tied up the proceedings from one end.

Narine was brought on in the first over after Powerplay and bowled four dot balls to Kohli, conceding just two runs.

Beating McCullum with his change of pace, Narine cleaned up the New Zealander and gave his trademark deadpan expression.

But De Villiers ensured that the run-rate does not slide further as he lifted the atmosphere with his two stunning sixes off Kuldeep’s successive deliveries.

The South African easily picked up a Kuldeep googly before launching him effortlessly with an inside-out six, and followed it up with straight six in a treat to the eyes.

Vinay Kumar was wayward with the new ball and McCullum made most of it smashing him for 14 runs in the first over that included two fours and one six.

He also bowled the last over and was smashed for consecutive six, four and another six before dismissing Mandeep Singh and Chris Woakes in the last two balls of the innings.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.