Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers maintained their brilliance for the third time in a row and led their team to a five-wicket victory over the hosts, Kolkata Knight Riders. However, the most striking aspect of today’s game was the way former KKR players like Manish Pandey and Shakib al Hasan played today.
Old KKR boys roar at Eden, for a different team
If there is one thing that the IPL has done to Indian cricket, it is that it has traversed the boundaries of regionalism and evolved as a prototypical commodity to lay down the template for every other cricket board for how to operate in a global context. And think, the country, which had hardly been involved in domestic cricketing rivalry or the my-state-versus-yours culture, suddenly adopted the English football formula of my-club-versus-yours banter to down his classmate or his colleague for that matter. What explains the phenomenon of an East Indian - MS Dhoni - being adopted as a Tamilian? This is not just for CSK fans, but every city has adopted their players as one of their own and their place of birth hardly matters to them.
And pretty much in that logic, Manish Pandey, who had joined Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014, showed a lot of emotion on his return to Eden Gardens, as evidenced by his Twitter account. But, now, rather than the city of joy, he returned a part of the City of Nizams.
And just at the half-way mark of the innings, he had done enough to take the Hyderabad-based franchise to safety. In the 8th over of the KKR innings, Pandey grabbed an excellent catch at point to dismiss Nitish Rana and followed that up with a screamer that sent Andre Russell packing. Both the catches had brilliance written all over them and both sent the Kolkata crowd into stubborn silence.
Similarly, another Bong, although from the other side of the border, Shakib al Hasan, who was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad this time, had a brilliant day at the office as he picked up two wickets by conceding only 21 runs in four overs.
However, unlike the last time when they were being cheered for every catch taken or every wicket taken, it was not to be this time around as the Eden was in shock looking at their heroes plying their trade successfully for their rivals.
Karthik - the aggressor, Karthik - the accumulator
After spending 13 years at the international level under the colossal shadow of MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik is finally getting the kind of attention that he deserves. His innings in the Nidahas final against Bangladesh was as classic as it gets and truly one for the historians to repeat for years - if and only if they are interested in T20 cricket history.
Most of the shots in Karthik's innings were wonderfully connected, coming right out of the middle of the bat. And that was the particular aspect of his batting that excited all and sundry connected to Indian cricket. He donned the role of aggressor when needed and how!
However, his innings today showed his other side - the serial run accumulator. Some might say that the innings was very selfish, but Karthik is the last man that you would attach that term with. His innings may not be significantly a match-saving innings, but it gave enough glimpses of what he can offer to the Indian cricket team once the IPL caravan settles down and India starts preparing for the upcoming England trip next year.