KKR set up clash with DC on back of Sunil Narine's inspired performance

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safari
11 Oct 2021 | 05:43 PM
authorcricket.com staff

KKR set up clash with DC on back of Sunil Narine's inspired performance

After going till the death, it was KKR, who held their nerves to advance through, to face Delhi Capitals in Qualifier two

Having won the toss, Virat Kohli opted to bat first, a bold decision at the venue where teams have opted to chase usually. However, Kohli insisted going the other route – choosing to bat first against a tough Kolkata bowling unit. Royal Challengers Bangalore’s openers once again got the team off to a free-flowing start, with 49 runs in the first five overs, which set the momentum for the innings. 

In particular, the two openers enjoyed the pace on offer from KKR’s with three overs from Lockie Ferguson and Shivam Mavi helping RCB get to 49/0. However, it was Ferguson’s pace, which incidentally also accounted for Padikkal, with the southpaw chopping one back onto his stumps, departing for an 18-ball 21, as RCB got to 53/1 in the powerplay. 

Post powerplay, in the most RCB of fashions, the scoring rate slowed down, as the KKR spinners took center stage in Sharjah. Shakib Al Hasan and Varun Chakravarthy in tandem, first prevented any sort of width on offer, conceding just 13 runs in the three overs succeeding the powerplay phase. When Sunil Narine was introduced into the attack, Srikar Bharat perished trying to go for glory, having scored a 16-ball 9. 

The free-fall and the late save

Despite having Glenn Maxwell, the second-best batsmen against spin in the Middle East, RCB could not find ways of getting too many balls to the boundary. But having said, the Australian all-rounder found the gap in the deep point boundary, with RCB scoring 79 runs after the first 11 overs. 

But when pace was reintroduced, Kohli picked up the pace immediately, with a boundary on the leg-side. However, Narine pinned all hopes for RCB fans, when his off-spin went past Kohli’s inside edge, as he walked back for a 33-ball 39. Through AB de Villiers walked out with a different mood on the night, he followed Kohli back to the hut, missing Narine’s delivery yet again. 


In the eight overs that the KKR spinners had bowled post the powerplay, the trio only conceded 47 runs but picked up three crucial wickets, stemming down the run-flow for the Challengers. And when the West Indian mystery spinner accounted for Maxwell, it came as a final blow to RCB’s coffin, as the spinner finished with figures of 4/21. 

Unlike the franchises’ middle-order, the lower order – comprising of Shahbaz Ahmed, Daniel Christian and Harshal Patel saved the franchise from further blushes. In the last three overs of the innings, the trio added 25 crucial runs for the Men in Red and Gold. Shahbaz scored a 14-ball 13, Christian with an eight-ball nine and Harshal was unbeaten on eight off six balls.

It took RCB to 138, a score that was definitely under-par but it gave the bowlers a chance at overturning their fortunes in the second half of the innings. On the bowling front, Narine picked up his career’s eight 4+ wicket haul in the shortest format.

KKR’s pulsating start to the chase

It isn’t a mystery anymore, RCB’s bowling with the new ball in the powerplay has been the worst in the second half of the tournament. In the Middle East, the franchise only picked up a solitary wicket in the powerplay phase, conceding at 9 RPO, the most amongst all sides, averaging 415 runs/wicket. They have further taken 276 deliveries to pick a wicket in the powerplay, which shows how they were terribly under-par on a surface that was good to bat in the powerplay. 

Meanwhile, on the other hand, KKR have the second-best batting display during the fielding restriction, scoring at 7.9 RPO, losing just seven wickets, the second-best in the UAE leg. Following the trend, KKR’s two openers, Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer, who took the attack to the RCB bowlers, scoring 40 runs after the first five. 

But as he has done time and again this season, Harshal Patel struck to send back the in-form Gill, picking RCB’s second wicket in the powerplay during the UAE leg. As soon as the spinners were in action, Yuzvendra Chahal struck immediately to send KKR’s vital batsman Rahul Tripathi back. Nitish Rana smashed a six and boundary off Glenn Maxwell’s over as KKR claimed control of the middle-overs. 

Even Harshal Patel’s 32nd wicket of the season – Iyer didn’t change the complexion of the game. As soon as Daniel Christian was introduced into the attack, the promotion of Sunil Narine stunned RCB. Three sixes off his first three balls, Narine turned the game on his head, as KKR stormed their way back in the encounter. 

The late drama in Sharjah

Just when KKR were cruising, their fans celebrating, RCB weren’t done, with Chahal striking at the most crucial time for Virat Kohli’s side. The leg-spinner with the cleverest of pace variation tempted the experienced batter to go towards the longer side of the boundary. To Rana’s dismay, he found the fielder in the deep, de Villiers, who only moved inches to grab the opportunity with both his hands. 

To top that, Harshal almost started the comeback for RCB when he got the red-hot West Indian to mistime into the hands of Padikkal. However, for the second time in the innings, a missed opportunity cost a crucial wicket for the Men in Red and Gold. And when luck was swinging in KKR’s favour, Siraj’s twin-wicket over once again swung the game. 

But the innovative Shakib Al Hasan, combined with his experience put two and two to ramp the Australian all-rounder Christian behind the short fine-leg fielder for a boundary. In a thrilling tie, the Knights finally got over the line with four wickets remaining as RCB crashed out of the tournament despite the efforts from Chahal-Siraj-Patel. 

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 139/6 (Shubman Gill 29, Sunil Narine 26; Yuzvendra Chahal 2/16, Harshal Patel 2/19) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 138/7 (Virat Kohli 39, Devdutt Padikkal 21; Sunil Narine 4/21) by four wickets

Player of the Match: Sunil Narine (4/21 and 26)

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Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight RidersIndian Premier League, 2021Royal Challengers BangaloreKolkata Knight RidersSunil NarineVirat Kohli

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