13 years ago on this day, Brendon McCullum, donning the KKR jersey, played an astonishing innings against RCB to kick-start the Indian Premier League in the most unbelievable way possible. The tournament would transcend further to become a behemoth as we know it today. It was probably fitting that, in the presence of McCullum in the opposition dugout, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers exacted the revenge in some style and left KKR bewildered even before the run-chase began.
There were multiple dimensions on which RCB operated today but the most significant of them all was the careful deconstruction of the innings. Sans the first Varun Chakravarthy over, which claimed the wickets of Virat Kohli and Rajat Patidar, RCB paced the innings well and managed to keep the KKR bowlers at bay. Glenn Maxwell made up for Devdutt Padikkal’s inability to pace the innings while AB de Villiers made it a point to remind everyone why he is still the best batsman in the side.
Maxwell started the carnage by smashing Shakib Al Hasan for a six and a four before another six and a four off Chakravarthy. The momentum helped him stay the course as he completed his fifty off just 28 balls and looked in imperious touch to go for the magic figure. Joining him from the other end was his idol AB de Villiers - a delight for any T20 fan.
After hitting consecutive fours off Chakravarthy in the 15th over, the Saffer further hit two back-to-back boundaries to make his intention clear. It was all in force and the worst thing a captain could do was to hand the ball to Russell who had a match-up disadvantage against AB de Villiers - an SR of 241.9 without ever being dismissed.
Nothing was going to change on a day he was in full flow as he smashed him for six and two fours to throw KKR’s plans off the block. The carnage continued till the 20th over - the last of which fetched them three fours and a six - as AB finished with a fantastic 76 to his name to help RCB to an above-par total of 204.
With a huge target to be chased down, KKR couldn’t have started any other way than they did. A typically reticent Shubman Gill went for the kill right from the first ball but the over-expression cost him the wicket in the second over itself. Rahul Tripathi played to the same template but as soon as Washington Sundar slowed himself down, he found it difficult to get going.
From Eoin Morgan to Shakib Al Hasan, everyone tried to resurrect the innings but RCB bowlers were disciplined and never let the game slip away from their hands. By the time Andre Russell arrived, many went on a nostalgic trip down the line and how Russell inflicted one of the most brutal carnages of all-time but it was just the romance that was rekindled. The reality was far from the imagination and wish and RCB bowlers had concrete ideas of the same.
Even though Russell landed some lusty blows to reignite the hope, that was all about it. RCB might have damned their chances with their death bowling in the past, but with Harshal Patel and the 2021 version of the Mohammed Siraj, they have a proposition beyond normality. Siraj bowled five dot balls in the 19th over before Patel wrapped things up to ensure RCB make it three in three to go to the top of the table.