A tale of two halves - Royal Challengers Bangalore putting on an early show with the ball and Kolkata Knight Riders suffering miserably with the bat. In the second half, the plot was exactly the opposite, RCB put on a show with the bat as KKR were always chasing their terrible batting display.
KKR 1/10 - One point for their effort looks quite right, such was KKR’s powerplay exploitation where they struggled to counter Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini’s swing bowling. 1,1,0,10 read their top four’s score, as they put up a total of 17/4, the lowest in his edition’s IPL, that says a lot!
RCB 7/10 - The only way KKR could get themselves back in the contest was with a good start in the powerplay with the ball. In these swinging conditions, a change in technique from Aaron Finch combined by Devdutt Padikkal’s courage propelled RCB to a score of 44/0 after the powerplay phase, swatting any sort of pressure put by KKR’s new-ball bowlers.
KKR 2/10 - If their powerplay exploitation was a trailer, their middle-overs manoeuvring was the entire movie and in short, terrible at max. Their batsman looked in a real hurry, not to score runs but to go back to the hut, including Dinesh Karthik and Pat Cummins. In the nine-over period, they scored 35 runs, losing two wickets. A terrible attempt at salvaging a must-win game from KKR.
RCB 9/10 - Bangalore were pretty much sorted in the middle-overs with their approach in a low-scoring game. They knew that the encounter and two points were in their hands, with a calm and composed partnership between Gurukeerat and Kohli, that took on KKR’s hapless bowling attack, chasing the total in well under 13 overs.
KKR N/A - Sadly for KKR, this match never looked like it was going to go till the end overs with RCB’s massive top-order, which has fired heavily in the tournament. Today too was another such day, where the game did not even get to the business end of a T20 innings, as RCB wrapped up the chase beforehand.
RCB 8/10 - It was probably Royal Challenger Bangalore’s worst phase in the game, in comparison to the way they started off the box with the ball. After reducing them to 52/6, they allowed KKR to score 84 in the last five overs, out of which 31 came off the blade of Kuldeep Yadav and Lockie Ferguson.
Mohammed Siraj confusing the selectors yet again
For the longest-time, Siraj’s excellent display with the red-ball went unnoticed but one good season with Sunrisers Hyderabad, he was on the selectors’ radar for a place in the squad for limited-overs, where he also made his debut. However, after being a costly mistake, the right-arm seamer was frozen out of the squad, to never be seen after in the white-ball formats. At the same time, he was making amends with the red-ball and making it look he was being effortless with the ball. Ahead of the Tour Down Under, his name has been in the radar for a possible red-ball place but now his performance in the IPL certainly would change their minds before we see him on the limited-overs squad for his IPL performances, with six wickets at an average of 17, better than Chahal. Today was one such day, his spell was breathing fire, against a dominant KKR batting order, where he picked up three wickets for just eight runs.
Will the real Nitish Rana please stand up?
Ten innings, 184 runs, now that isn’t a really good record, could it be a lower-order batsman? No, it’s Nitish Rana batting at three for KKR, who has had a terrible, that is me being considerate this tournament. Surely he showed a spark with his 58, the only innings where his counter-attacking form came to the fore. In the other games, he laid like a still duck who caught the swinging ball like it was water, getting out in the process. But more importantly, his dismissals all showed his weakness, which was plethora - be it short-balls, swinging deliveries - both in-swingers and out-swingers. KKR might be sitting pretty fourth on the table but if they don’t look at addressing the ‘Rana’ size problem, they might just let it slip from their grasp and they wouldn’t have any else to blame but for their selection when Siddesh Lad and Rinku Singh are waiting for their opportunity.
KKR missed a trick by not bowling Lockie Ferguson in the powerplay
When will KKR ever learn? That’s not only a question from the fans but also everyone watching their last two games. Eoin Morgan might be the best of skippers in International cricket but when it comes to the IPL, he hasn’t done a great job in using his resources rightly. Last game against SRH, Lockie Ferguson came on to bowl after the powerplay and yet made a mark, which in hindsight was a hint to the skipper, that please bowl me in the powerplay. Once again, in swinging conditions, Morgan refused to utilise the Kiwi pacer in the first six overs when the ball was still new and it was swinging. One game is fine, two games seem to be a stretch for not using your best bowler in these conditions and it can be any thought process behind it but its wrong!
Siraj’s first over was certainly the game-changer for RCB, who lost the toss and were sent to bowl first. Not only was his line on point, but his length was also equally at the right spot, dismissing both Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana, which exposed KKR’s nightmare - their struggling middle-order.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Poor
The most-awaited encounter this week, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore have lit the tournament up with their batting display. However, today, it was anything but a good batting display as KKR succumbed to 84/8 in 20 overs. The match was a drag in the first half and in the second half, it looked like a runaway chase. Virat Kohli applied the finishing touches as he came out and slapped the bowlers for easy boundaries.