In what could arguably be described as the most baffling collapse in IPL history, Rajasthan, in their over-ambitious quest to chase 192 inside 14 overs, slumped to a 60-run defeat to exit IPL 2020 with a loss. The margin of defeat, incredibly, aided KKR in their quest to secure a playoff spot.
KKR 8/10 - At 15/1 after 3, KKR looked in all sorts but both Gill and Tripathi batted cleverly with intent and pounced on every opportunity they got. They first took apart the innocuous Gopal and then dispatched every bad ball offered by the duo of Stokes and Aaron. 55/1 in 6 after losing an opener for a golden duck is a fine recovery.
RR: 1/10 - Well, who on sweet earth scores 41 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in the powerplay? To quote my colleague Aakash, this was a ‘good film with a bad climax’. A 19-run first over turned out to be a smokescreen for yet another RR collapse inside the powerplay. Nothing to say, really. Forget about non-qualification, this was a performance worthy of relegation.
KKR 7.5/10 - The Knight Riders perhaps lost two wickets more than they would have liked, but each and every batsman who batted in this phase followed the agenda - which was to show intent. Back to back wickets of Tripathi and DK threatened to derail KKR’s charge but 32 runs off overs 14 and 15 - largely thanks to skipper Morgan - turned the ‘dull’ middle-overs into a productive period.
RR 2/10 - Unlike the powerplay, RR did not throw away their wickets but well, it was a forgettable performance, nevertheless. They swung their bat and swung it hard - not to win, but just to get out of Dubai in a hurry.
RR 6/10 - Two sixes from the bat of Dre Russ in the very first over of this phase spelt ‘death’ for the Royals but boy they did extremely well to keep their calm, even despite Morgan’s annihilation of Stokes. In the mood KKR and Morgan were in, things could have gotten really ugly but RR fought the dew to ‘just’ concede 59 in the final 5. A fine effort, under the circumstances.
KKR 7/10 - Could certainly have put in more effort to kill the game earlier to help themselves. The pacers - particularly Mavi and Nagarkoti - did a fine job, but the 11-run 17th over from Narine was a bummer.
What has happened to Shreyas Gopal this season?
Not too long ago, Shreyas Gopal was a name people were wanting to feature in the Indian national side. There was so much to admire about his bowling: his control was immaculate, he got to drift in abundance and most importantly, there was a Kumble-esque feel about his style. The kind of performances he’s put in this season makes you wonder what has gone wrong with a bowler who seemed destined to don the Blue under a year ago. He has, thus far, genuinely been outshone by his part-time compatriot Rahul Tewatia, his bowling has lost the bite and discipline and from having once been Rajasthan’s x-factor, he has now turned into the side’s liability. Him having conceded his runs at 8.33 has hurt RR, but what’s almost crippled the side is his wicket-taking returns, 9 wickets in 14 games @ 44, the worst amongst all bowlers in the Top 20 wicket-takers list this season. His showing in the powerplay today was a damning indictment of how far he has fallen as a bowler.
Dear BCCI, invest in Kartik Tyagi, please
IPL 2020 has been anything but easy for young Kartik Tyagi. He was pit into the RR side in the midst of a mini losing streak against Rohit, SKY, Pollard and Pandya and right from day one, he’s been used by Smith as a go-to death bowler. Now his numbers - 9 wickets from 10 games @ 9.61 - do not tell the true story, nor do they give a fair reflection of his abilities. Be it up-front with the new cherry or at the death, Tyagi has shown incredible heart and doughtiness and ‘propah’ fast bowler’s attitude to indulge in a battle has been sensational. Yes, he was slaughtered by Hardik Pandya in one of the matches, but that he’s more often than not come out on top in mini-battles with absolute monsters like Watson, de Villiers and Russell speaks volumes about who he is, as a bowler and a cricketer. Like Arshdeep, Tyagi’s mettle to not get unsettled or intimidated by the name of the batsman has been sensational. One for the future, and dare I say he’s ‘already’ a more thinking limited-overs bowler than say, Navdeep Saini.
Can we talk about Pat Cummins’ clutch?
Mr 15.5 crore, worst signing of the season, specialist batsman, yada yada yada. Critics have come down hard on Pat Cummins all season, particularly for his inability to take wickets. He did shut a mouth or two by running through the entire RR line-up today, but what needs to be given a good mention is his mental toughness; his mettle in clutch moments. Not so long ago versus CSK, Cummins was tasked with the responsibility of bowling the 18th over and while the general perception was that he would get carted around, 4 runs was all the Aussie spearhead gave away. Ironically, it was the designated hero, Lockie Ferguson, who instead blew the game. That was not the first instance of Cummins proving his worth as only two games prior to the CSK encounter he’d dismantled the Delhi top-order with the new ball. Despite not possessing the same T20 gifts as some of the other quicks, Cummins’ ability to turn up the heat under pressure has been laudable and his display today was a testament to the same.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Exceptional
The circumstances surrounding the match were bound to make it interesting and although the finish was disappointing, it delivered. For at least 24 overs, the game looked like a contender for the ‘Match of the Season’ and provided entertainment in abundance. Far better than some of the other games we’ve had of late, at least.