ATUL KUMAR MAURYA | 13th October 2020

This was a mighty, power-packed performance by the Challengers to send the Knight Riders packing. Entering the game, placed as 3rd and 4th in the table respectively, both Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore would’ve thought that a nail-biting contest was on the cards to establish supremacy and move further up the table. But it was an all-round masterclass from Virat Kohli’s men as they thrashed Dinesh Karthik’s side by 82 runs in what turned out to be a no-contest. Played at Sharjah, the match promised to be a thriller. And it did deliver, even if only one team showed up.

From the ABD rampage and the pinpoint accuracy of Washington Sundar to the no-show from Dre Russ, here are the hits and misses from the fairly one-sided encounter between the two sides.


Finally, everyone chipped in for Bangalore

Bangalore played beautifully on both fronts, whether it be the batting or the bowling department. With their fielding, especially in the catching department still not being up to the mark, the Royal Challengers made up for those misses with both the bat and the ball. Chris Morris’ return seems to have sparked a new life into the whole squad. Aaron Finch brought something different to the table this time around by using his feet more often, ironing out his standstill footwork after heavy scrutiny in the previous games.

Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli chipped in with crucial runs while Navdeep Saini and Morris joined the party as well. Kohli will surely be hoping that this is the perfect team balance which will eventually help them reach the knockout stages of the tournament.

AB de Villiers: Part-time batsman, full-time gamechanger

Bangalore were surely placed well for a grandstand finish, but at times, it still looked like the Kolkata Knight Riders will pull this one back in time. Both Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Andre Russell were brilliant with their variations in pace and Varun Chakravarthy was also very tactful with his deceptive slow bowling. But then arrived Mr. 360 and took the KKR bowling attack by storm.

Kohli looked to attack the change of pace by coming down the track and hitting the ball, mistiming it on numerous occasions. On the other hand, de Villiers sat back, waited, and then pummelled the bowlers to all ends of the park. How ABD took the game away from the Knight Riders was a joy to watch for the RCB fans. Even Pat Cummins wasn’t safe from the AB storm as the big Aussie was annihilated as well.

Spinning a web around KKR

It is safe to say by now that Kohli has a gem in Washington Sundar. Putting in top-drawer performances, day in-day out, Sundar has been a phenomenon in this year’s IPL. From bowling economically in the powerplay to restricting the batsmen from playing the big shots, Sundar has been at the task brilliantly. Reading the conditions to perfection, he varied his pace to great effect and didn’t toss the ball up to give the batsmen any glimpse of hope to play their shots.

On the other end, Yuzvendra Chahal’s bowling would have put Kohli in dreamland. Much like Sundar, Chahal again varied his pace and length to perfection and ended any hopes KKR had in the middle overs. Chahal ended the game with an economy of 3, whereas Sundar did a wonderful job by conceding just 20 in his full quota of overs.

A duo to keep an eye on.


The decision to send Banton out to open imploded

We all know what Tom Banton brings to the table. A big hitter of the ball, Banton has proved his mettle in the T20 leagues in both Australia and England. But here, it was a bit unfair on the Englishman to open the innings and give the start that the team needed. Chasing 195, KKR needed someone to go big from the off. They sent in Banton and Shubman Gill to do the job for them. While Banton looked a big name on the team sheet, it was still too much to ask from the Englishman.

Making his debut in the IPL, Banton was under immense pressure straightaway and it showed. KKR could’ve stuck with Rahul Tripathi and Gill to open the innings, whereas Banton could’ve been an asset at the end. Sending him at the top in a crunch game like this, when the youngster was making his debut didn’t pay dividends. It was a hit or a miss move and it proved to be the latter.

Misfiring Middle-Order

Dinesh Karthik played a brilliant cameo in the last match against the Kings XI, but to be honest, it has been a dismal showing from the middle order of the Kolkata Knight Riders. Whether it be Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik or the mighty Andre Russell, none of them have performed in the whole tournament. And in a game which needed everyone to chip in with valuable contributions, none of them did.

The biggest surprise has been the performances of England’s white-ball captain. England’s highest run-scorer in both T20s and ODIs, Morgan hasn’t had been at his brilliant best for the Knight Riders, something that’s been a major blow to them this season. Similarly, last year’s demolition jobs seem a long time ago for Dre Russ, who has looked too eager to hit every ball out of the park and has failed miserably in doing so.

KKR will need to sort out their middle-order woes, otherwise its highly likely that they will pay the price.

KKR’s fast bowling is all over the place

On one day, you think the Kolkata Knight Riders have the best bowling unit in the league. On some other day, it’s all over the place. Varun Chakravarthy has been delivering the goods for the Knight Riders but the fast bowlers weren’t up to scratch yesterday. Pat Cummins at times hasn’t been able to adjust his lengths according to the situation and has heavily paid the price for it. Prasidh Krishna has again looked good in patches, but then again, has been wayward on the other occasions, leaking runs in the process.

Both Nagarkoti and Russell started brilliantly yesterday, but the ABD storm took them by surprise as well. KKR are still inconsistent and undecided on their fast bowling front, which has hampered their progress to say none the less. If KKR wants to make it to the playoffs, they’ll have to sort this problem in time. Otherwise, their fortunes remain very touch-and-go.