A wondrous spell from leg-spinner Rashid Khan turned out to be insufficient as SRH slipped to an embarrassing 42-run defeat against the Kolkata Knight Riders. In pursuit of 194, no SRH batsman scored a fifty as the Warner-led side were bowled out for 151, falling well short of the target by 42 runs.
Winning the toss and opting to bat, KKR got off to an uncharacteristically quick start, powered by the trio of Gill, Narine and Rana, who took a liking to the new ball. At 66/1 at the end of the powerplay, KKR looked set to launch but were left teetering by an otherworldly spell from Rashid Khan, who finished with figures of 4/19. But to Rashid’s dismay, though, clean hitting from DK and Cummins coupled with some forgettable bowling from the other SRH bowlers saw KKR go berserk at the death, scoring 51 off the last 4 overs to push the total to 193.
Chasing 194, the SRH batsmen looked to take the attack to the KKR bowlers from the get-go, but the plan fell flat on their face as inside the powerplay, the Men in Orange lost all three of David Warner, Kane Williamson and Jonny Bairstow. A brief period of resistance from Vijay Shankar and Manish Pandey followed, but once Kuldeep got the better of Pandey, things went downhill for SRH, who then lost wickets in a flurry to hand the match to the Knight Riders. Eventually, 151 was all they could manage, handing the DK-led KKR a landslide victory.
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SRH needed one of their big three, Warner, Williamson or Bairstow, to go big to chase down what was in front of them, but losing all three of them inside the first five overs of the chase was a body blow that they never were able to recover from. Given there was all but little experience from No.4 and beyond, the Orange Army needed their big guns to fire today and the chase virtually died the moment all three departed.
Highs and Lows
There are not many spinners in modern-day cricket who can be described as magicians, but Rashid Khan sure is one of them. His spell today, which read 4-0-19-4, was a genuine reminder of how good a bowler he is and why he’s touted to become a legend. The KKR batsmen were ravaging the bowlers from one end but at the other, they were literally at the mercy of Rashid for the entirety of his spell. An A+ performance.
If Rashid’s spell was high, then Bhuvi’s spell was the undoubted low of the day. Being a veteran cricketer, it was criminal on Bhuvi’s part to leak runs the way he did - both upfront and towards the end - and eventually, he ended up with figures of 1//54. The 20-run over he bowled towards the end completely tilted the momentum in Kolkata’s favour.
Powerplay exploitation: - Kolkata 9.5/10 and SRH 6/10
KKR have kind of developed an unwanted reputation for themselves in this SRL, that of being slow starters, but today was anything but that. The trio of Gill, Narine and Rana latched onto some loose bowling by SRH - which also saw the Men in Orange concede 5 extras inside the powerplay - and decimated the bowling all around to ground to race off to 66/1 in the first six overs. Gill was a casualty, yes, but the trio of him, Narine and Rana combinedly hit 9 boundaries in this phase to exploit the field restrictions to the utmost extent. A masterclass on how to bat in the powerplay.
SRH are not the kind of team that goes ‘boom or bust’ early on, but given they were chasing 194 today, they opted for that very approach and ended up getting mixed results. Yes, they did keep up with the run rate, scoring 54 runs in the first six, but in the process, they also ended up losing their three key batsmen, Warner, Bairstow and Williamson; a scenario far from ideal. 10/10 for the intent but 4/10 for the execution.
Middle overs Manoeuvring: Kolkata 7.5/10 and SRH 3/10
Vulnerable versus Rashid, invincible against the rest - this was the story of KKR’s display in the middle overs today. The difference was so contrasting that while they scored at 9.5 runs per over against the rest, they only managed to score at 4 RPO versus Rashid. Eventually, though, despite losing three wickets in the first three overs of the powerplay, both Russell and DK did a fine job of tidying things up and keeping the score ticking. Their ploy to consciously attack the other SRH bowlers, barring Rashid, was shrewd and commendable.
After losing the big guns in the powerplay, SRH’s middle-order batters needed to bat out of their skins to help their side edge closer to the total but unfortunately, that wasn’t to be today. Instead, both Narine and Kuldeep were all over them throughout the phase and strangled them to such an extent that even before the half-way mark, the game was almost out of SRH’s reach. Seldom does it end well when you end up scoring 62/5 in the middle overs whilst you’re chasing a total of 194.
Death Bowling: SRH 2/10 and Kolkata 6/10
Well, Rashid did everything he possibly could to set it up on a platter for the other bowlers, only for them to drop it. At 142/6, with both Russell and Tripathi back in the pavilion, SRH had no business conceding 51 more runs in the last four overs. All they had to do was keep things simple, yet such was their performance that Cummins, of all people, ended up scoring a 12-ball 30. An abomination of a performance, to say the least.
With SRH already 8 wickets down before the commencement of the death overs, the job was done and dusted and all KKR had to do was remain disciplined. While not being as disciplined as they would have liked, leaking quite a few runs against both Shankar and Khaleel, the KKR bowlers did somehow get the job done, completing the formalities to hand their team an easy win. Not the kind of performance they would look back upon or take inspiration from, that’s for sure.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Average
The game was a mixed bag right from ball one, with neither side taking the game by the scruff of the neck. While there were highly entertaining passages of play, the game did, however, become one-sided post the powerplay of the SRH innings and that made for bad viewing. Was still bearable, nevertheless.
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