What started off as a dream ended as a nightmare for Delhi Capitals, who were decimated by Kolkata Knight Riders’ mystery spinners Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, with both bat and ball. KKR, with the win, edged closer to qualification and simultaneously dented DC’s chances of making the Top 2.
KKR 5/10 - It is hard enough forcing yourself to stay awake at 3 PM on a Saturday afternoon, but add a teaspoon of KKR’s powerplay batting and the task becomes tedious. 36/2 in 6. Yet another KKR game, yet another snoozefest in the powerplay. The less spoken about the bating, the better.
DC 4/10 - Delhi’s performance in the powerplay is getting worse by the day and it’s a genuine cause for concern. There was no Dhawan magic on the day and Iyer and Pant scampered their way to a mere 36 off 6. There was all but no intent despite chasing 195. 36 was all they managed despite Prasidh bowling two no-balls. A decent rescue job, yes, but could and should have been better.
Middle overs maneuvering
KKR 10/10 - Blimey, was this actually a KKR game? Someone pinch me, please. The Knight Riders scored 106 runs for 0 wickets in the middle-phase and for all this and more, they have one man to thank for - Sunil Narine. Not sure if his new action will deter his bowling, but boy this revamped arm of his has elevated his batting by the looks of it. His 64 (32) not just injected confidence into Rana, but also changed the innings’ complexion.
DC 3/10 - A horror show. For 80% of the phase, what ensued was agricultural hoicking from Pant and Iyer, both of whom struggled to break free. The timing was non-existent and it was a display that raised further questions over the quality and credibility of this DC batting unit. 74/3 in the middle in a chase of 195 is simply not good enough.
DC 7/10 - KKR’s total could so easily have gone north of the 200-mark, but the Delhi seamers did an exceptional job to not let the game run away. At 142/3 in the 15th over, if you’d told Iyer that KKR would end up with only 194, he’d have bitten your hand off. Wickets at regular intervals, coupled with clever usage of the dimensions, meant that KKR were not able to bat DC out of the contest.
KKR 9/10 - DC had lost the match, really, by the time the death overs beckoned but Varun Chakravarthy put on an exhibition for the ages. His five-fer was the icing on the cake for KKR, whose bowlers put up a professional performance to mark a complete performance.
Rahul Tripathi might have, erm, been found out
Yes, let’s admit it. We all wanted Rahul Tripathi opening the batting for KKR. The poor guy was mistreated by RR for two full seasons, so with Narine struggling, it was a no-brainer to have him up top. And yes, when KKR employed him, we all had our “Told ya” moment. His 81 versus Chennai was crafted with love. But well, this is the IPL and, unfortunately, unless you’re the best of the best, you will get found out. 8 games into his IPL 2020 campaign, it looks like teams might finally have figured Tripathi’s weakness - raw pace. Thrice in his last six knocks, today included, the right-hander has had his stumps cartwheel and on all three occasions, a combination of pace and a tinge of movement has been enough to get the better of him. Could it be more than just coincidence that his only fifty of the season came against CSK, the side with no express quicks? Time will only tell.
Narine in the middle-order is a bigger weapon than Narine up top
Hear me out. I know the general public was enraged with Narine coming in at No.4 versus CSK, for obvious reasons, but games like today prove why it’s a genius, win-win move. That Narine walked in at 42/3 in the 8th over and left at 157/4 in the 17th over in itself amazing, but consider how much he wrecked DC’s plans - Narine being a beast against spin meant that, apart from Ashwin and Axar combinedly bowling just 4 overs between them, Iyer also had to utilize an over of Nortje earlier than he would have liked. This made the job easier for both Rana and Morgan at the death, who feasted on Stoinis. Here’s why it’s a genius move: knowing Narine will slaughter spinners, captains will be forced to bring back one of their premier seamers in order to avoid a situation like today. So even if Narine fails, it will be a victory for KKR as, ultimately, it will end up taking away one tough over towards the back end. Bet everyone now wishes they had a batsman like Narine in their side.
Delhi - time to revert back to Harshal Patel?
Make no mistake, barring that one Chris Gayle over, Tushar Deshpande has done a fine job this season for the Capitals. But there is a blandness and unoriginality about his bowling that just doesn’t make him a threat. Sure, as the commentators will tell you, he might be a skiddy customer, but very rarely will quality, world-class batsmen be troubled by 135 clicks. Unfortunately, at this stage in his career, Tushar also looks like the kind easily rattled by pressure. Taking everything into consideration, perhaps Delhi would just be better off with Harshal Patel as the third seamer. Sure, he might not be pacy, but street-smartness is an attribute in T20s that is underrated and Harshal has plenty of it. Today, for instance, his cutters and cross-seamers could very well have put an early end to the Narine-Rana stand. Given DC anyway have two world-class quicks, there is no reason for them to field a Deshpande, who is pretty much a downgrade and offers nothing different.
When Sunil Narine walked in to bat, KKR were behind the eight ball by some distance, reeling at 42/3 in the 8th over. He connected a six and a four in the 9th over bowled by Ashwin and quite frankly, KKR did not look back from that point. Could very well be a season-changing over for both KKR and DC.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Not bad
KKR’s innings started off slow, but the Sunil Narine blitz made the contest one worth watching. That said, it was an extremely disappointing reply from Delhi, who looked defeated right from ball one.