In a game of throw aways, KKR managed to captivate!
If you want to witness a game where both teams had been throwing away their chances continuously, then the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings would be the ideal one. The number of misfired master stroke moments equaled the number of brain fade moments that kept pushing the game from one side to another once in every 5 overs. The match was staged in Abu Dhabi and the Knight Riders opted to bat first. While Chennai were rising high with their recent stupendous victory against KXIP, Kolkata had been having a roller coaster ride and their captain was under the radar after a series of poor decisions made by him in both the batting and bowling department.
KKR promoted Rahul Tripathi to open the innings with Gill and this was the first master stroke by DK. He was in good touch with his timely cameo in KKR’s previous outing and Narine had to be given the breather to restore his confidence. Tripathi straight away pounced on Chahar and Curran to race away to 30 runs in no time. While Gill was taking his time to settle, Thakur didn’t allow for that as he bowled a skidding cross- seamed delivery to make him nick to the keeper. Rahul continued to clobber a few sixes while the batsmen at the other end were simply making their way in and out. With Rahul reaching his 50 and scorecard reading 74/2 at the end of 9th over, there was absolutely no meaning in sending Narine ahead of inform batsmen like Morgan and Russell. The team was not in a hit out or get out situation as they wanted somebody to build a solid partnership with Rahul through the testing middle overs. Narine just slashed a few balls before he perished and KKR gained nothing big from that knock but just lost one more wicket in quick succession which added to more pressure. When Morgan came in, pressure immediately shifted on to CSK. Curran was immediately brought back into the attack and right to do so, he knew the weaknesses of his compatriot and deployed a short ball to remove Morgan. Russell went cheaply and the others followed him before Tripathi ended his knock scoring 81 off 51 balls. What looked like a score above 185+ at a point, came down drastically to 167.
Watson picked up from where he left it in the previous game while ‘Fafulous’ du Plessis was also scoring briskly. However, the teenage sensation Shivam Mavi quickly removed Faf for cheap 17 and Rayudu went on to strike a great partnership with Watson. CSK looked like they had rewinded the clock and started blowing fireballs from the vault. By the end of 11 overs CSK were sitting comfortably on 94/1. DK operated his bowlers poorly until then and the entire cricketing fraternity and social media were fuming with reactions. He bowled out his premier bowler Cummins within the 11th over while Mavi, Nagarkoti and Varun bowled 3, 2 and 2 overs respectively. Where was Narine till that point? Watson had always struggled against Narine and it was so important to remove him earlier in the innings. Luckily Nagarkoti scalped Rayudu and walked in the lion Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Skipper DK immediately deployed his mystery spin duo of Narine and Varun and got both batsmen struggling to score runs. Overs 11-14 saw just 14 runs hit and eventually Watson paid the price, resting his wicket to Narine. Dhoni failed to connect his shots and slowly started eating balls to reach 7 off 10 deliveries. He immediately went for a no brainer shot as he completely played the wrong line against Varun who crashed the stumps. Dynamo Curran couldn’t last long and in came the pair of the night. Jadhav and Jadeja never looked in a way that they were in the middle of a run chase. Jadhav was struggling to rotate strikes, as he was mistiming the deliveries and RRR climbed to 13. Russell maintained his cool and stuck on to disciplined lines which eventually made CSK choke and threw away what was their game at the halfway mark.
Here are some interesting stats and moments from the game:
- Dhoni’s struggle against Narine : Dhoni had faced Narine for 59 balls scoring 29 runs but had never hit him for a boundary and was dismissed by him once!
- Tit for Tat : During the 2nd timeout while KKR was batting, there was a heated argument between Curran and Dhoni as Curran disagreed with the captain and bowled according to his plans to remove Morgan with a short bouncer. To pay back, when Curran was batting, Morgan instructed Russell to go bang on hitting the deck hard and Curran fell for his national captain’s trick.
- DK’s batting woes continues : Although he insisted that KKR had a fluid batting lineup and he could take any position from 3 to 7, he still didn’t manage to score runs at any of his outings. He badly needs a powerful knock in his kitty.
- Unexpected plans : Although DK claimed to have used his bowling options resourcefully, had the plans backfired, then KKR would have been grounded thoroughly. It was an unexpected uprun in the spell and CSK failed to captivate on their start once again.
- Kedar really bothers : He has not played even a noteworthy knock until the day and to make things worse, his innings had derailed the batting many times. Neither does he contribute with the ball nor his fielding being exceptional, captain and coach should soon look to mend his position.
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