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Kolkata Knight Riders 112-9 (20 Ovs)
Prasidh Krishna 2 (3)
Royal Challengers Bangalore 194-2
Chris Morris 4-0-17-2
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 82 runs
RCB smashed KKR by 82 runs © BCCI
AB, bowlers school KKR
This is nearly as forgettable a game for KKR as the famous 49 allout was for RCB. KKR were never in chase. The last time they could afford to feel good about their game was at the 14 over mark in the first innings. Since then it’s been all about AB and the RCB bowlersas KKR just couldn’t take a step in the right direction. CSK have been chided all season for the absence of intent but tonight it was KKR’s turn to suffer the same fate. This is quite a deflating result for KKR, who already seem to have lost Narine to an illegal bowling action warning.
They put him on the bench, though they expressed surprise at the decision take. His future this season remains unclear and Tom Banton didn’t do himself any favours by coming out as a bundle of nerves and failing to get going. Whether Chris Green is the way to go for KKR is a decision for them to make, but first a bit of introspection after a humbling night. Mind you, they’re still fourth so not everything is doom and gloom at the moment. As far as RCB are concerned, they played like an absolute top side today. Kohli spoke of a perfect game in his last win but today was so much more. He’d be chuffed surely! That’s all from me for tonight. Ciao!
Two of RCB’s heroes tonight…
Sundar dismissed Nitish Rana and Eoin Morgan ©Fame Dubai
Chahal bowled 10 dots balls in his exceptional spell ©Fame Dubai
How are they not clearing Sharjah boundaries?
Just not KKR’s day today. Pat Cummins mistimes a big hit and is caught by Devdutt at long-off. RCB are now just three wickets away from a HUGE victory here – much needed boost for their NNR.
He gave hopes, didn’t he? He smashed Six, Four, Dot, Four off Udana’s first four balls and made it look like he could do it all by himself. But that was merely false hope as he perishes going for another big one. Siraj takes a catch, Kohli is ecstatic and RCB have a big NRR boost in their sights.
So, KKR are five down and need 124 off 42 balls. Even Dre Russ can’t work his magic, can he?
RCB are set for an NRR boost and we’re in for an early finish. Because Morgan has perished now. Incredible bowling smarts on display from Washington there. He’s been such a positive for RCB in this season. Morgan made room by going outside the leg stump to play over the off-side. Washington saw that early and fired a quicker one a touch short. Morgan went through with his pre-meditated shot and ended up top-edging it. It went straight to Udana at short third man. KKR 64/5
Look away KKR fans…
… for this is not pretty! Dinesh Karthik has been absolutely done in by the slowness of the pitch. He went after a wide leg-break from Chahal that was moving further away from him and ended up playing it onto his stumps. Poor from the skipper. RCB now have a firm grip on the proceedings.
Shubman Gill goes now!
KKR are crumbling here. Morgan hits the ball towards Udana at cover and the two batsmen dash off for a run that was perhaps not there. The Sri Lanka fired a low flat throw to AB who caught Shubman well short of his crease. Over to DK then.
RCB pacers could yet cramp Morgan?
First Aaron FInch drops a sitter at the boundary line to give Shubman a life and then Virat Kohli rushes into a review for a caught behind appeal against Eoin Morgan, when AB himself appeared to suggest it didn’t get the bat. And rightly so. Replays showed that Morgan was too early into his attempted reverse sweep. After he went through with his bat swipe, the ball hit his arm and flew up off it which AB caught.
Nitish Rana falls!
KKR are struggling here. RCB spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar have put a choke on the chasers here .Chahal gave away just three in his first over and Washington too has been making the two KKR batters work for their runs. A wild swing was always round the corner, and it was Nitish who bit the bullet. He tried to slog sweep Washington and ended up missing it entirely. He’s bowled and KKR are two down. Eoin Morgan walks out.
Underwhelming start for KKR
The chasers get to 43 for 1 in 6 overs. Mohammad Siraj and Navdeep Saini have been too quick for the KKR batters. Feel for Tom Banton who made a rather nervous start to his debut and fell for a 12-ball 8. KKR’s bowlers did well in the middle-overs with change of pace, and should believe RCB will go down that route as well. But what’s the best way out of it? We’ll have to wait and watch. Shubman Gill has played a few strokes in his 17-ball 26. Nitish Rana can hit them long too so intruiging phase coming up where Yuzvendra Chahal will operate.
Nitish Rana comes in… and gives me a reason to share this random fact about him not prefering to play with a long handle, and deciding to raze it himself. Don’t know what I am talking about? Take a look for yourself…
How about that from the RCB pacer? Tom Banton was showing signs of being nervous as it is and then had to face this absolute brute – delivered at 148.2 kmph – on a hard length. It took an inside edge off Banton’s bat and just sent the off-stump out of its place. What a ball! KKR are off to a shaky start here.
RCB finish on 194/2
That’s 83 off the last 30 balls there. Got to feel for KKR bowlers who did so well all the way through to 15 overs, only to be hit by an AB de Villiers masterclass. The boundaries are short and AB found a hack so there was not much KKR bowlers could do there. This could yet be an interesting chase.
AB de Villiers smashes 23-ball half-century!
Oh the South African has been in the mood today. He’s just hit those sixes at will and suddenly all of KKR’s hardwork with the ball – for all of 14 overs – is starting to go in vain in front of their eyes.
Think about this for a moment…
An interesting piece of analysis on air from Kevin Pietersen. He says Kohli is a batsman who likes and wants to come forward and play and hence he’s not been able to connect many amidst so much change of pace. AB meanwhile is happy to camp back and wait in his crease and just smash the ball – bowled literally at any length.
Another big over!
1Wd 6 4 . . 6 1 –That’s Pat Cummins’s final over as AB continues to stand his ground and smash it across the line. The straight boundary is ridiculously short so even a length ball at 140 ks can easily be dispatched over the long off fence – if you’re AB of course! The South African is also targetting the mid-wicket fence and acing it for now.
Here’s the release over!
It’s come a bit late but RCB will take it. AB de Villiers knew Nagarkoti was going to only try his luck with slower ones and stayed ready for it. The result – two big heaves send the ball out of the ground, and one boundary to cap off an 18-run over. That’s as many runs in his final over that he conceded in the entirety of the first three.
Moment of truth for KKR bowlers from here. And on cue, KKR have taken a timeout here.
Big test coming up for KKR bowlers!
So RCB have 107/2 in 14 overs because the KKR bowlers – the quicks in particular – have done a fabulous job here at reading the conditions to the T and sticking to one good plan that has forced RCB on the backfoot. But RCB in their last game smashed 83 off the last six overs. How much can they get today? Mind you, it’s not been easy at all today.
Another batsman cleaned up!
Oh Finch doesn’t get his fifty then. The innings got to a stage where the batsmen had to take risk. They are in desperate need of a release over. Prasidh Krishna offered a freebie first up – full and outside the off-stump at good pace which Finch smashed over cover. Finch perhaps expected an immediate switch to a slower ball and made room outside the leg stump but Prasidh fired in a straight full and fast ball that Finch couldn’t get his bat too. Bowled him!
Frustrating phase for RCB
Change of pace is the way to go clearly today! All of DK’s bowlers have stuck to that plan, and Finch and Kohli have struggled to get going here. Nagarkoti has just bowled an over with four slower balls, none connected well by the RCB pair.
Chakravarthy azhaguvs Kohli
DK is pleased with his spinner. Chakravarthy gets Kohli to let out frustration for missing a dab, and then makes the RCB captain lean forward to nurdle the ball to the leg side and pick a single. DK yells “Beauty, beauty, Azhagu (Beauty in tamil!). KKR have pulled back superbly since the early stages of the PowerPlay. Frequent short balls and change of pace have done the trick here. RCB reach 86/1 in 11 overs.
Virat Kohli is in. This is what he’s been upto against KKR recently…
What’s next in this sequence? ©Fame Dubai
Look who’s a fan…
Andre Russell gets the first breakthrough for KKR! Russell continues to mess with the batsmen through his change of pace. He started the over with at gentle 114.2 kmph which Devdutt didn’t quite read but managed to hit just over the straight boundary. The wicket ball, similarly straight, was fired in a 139.3 kmph. Devdutt had made it a habit to create room by moving away from his leg stump and play through the line, but on this occasion didn’t meet the ball with his bat. The ball smashed the middle stump, to bring Virat Kohli to the middle.
Lot of advice for the mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy from his captain behind the stumps… and in Tamil! They’re both from Tamil Nadu and go a long way back. Do you know Varun’s incredible cricket story though?
Spoiler alert: There’s a lot of DK influence in here too…
Change of pace the new Sharjah currency?
Great news for KKR is Andre Russell isn’t just fit, he’s fit enough to bowl an over in the PP. And what a first over that is! Kamlesh Nagarkoti drops a sitter after Russell did so well to set Finch up here. Russell first began with hard lengths at pace – nearly 140ks – and then drastically brought it down to 119 which Finch didn’t see coming and played all around. And then there was a bouncer at 137 kmph that hurried onto Finch. Next ball was straighter and still short and Finch hit in the direction of the short fine leg fielder, who made a mess of the chance. That said, this is a good comeback from KKR to let RCB get just 47/0 in 6 overs.
Great stuff, Pat!
It’s curious that Dinesh Karthik has opted to bowl Cummins for three overs his overs in the PowerPlay, but their 15 cr recruit has done exceptionally well in his third. Just three singles off it!
Dimensions at fault?
Not entirely. The ground may be short but Prasidh Krishna hasn’t helped himself here with the line he’s bowled at to the left-handed Devdutt.
He’s riled up Pat Cummins, it would seem. He’s making room outside the leg stump and coolly smashing deliveries over the infield on the off-side. He’s also forced Cummins to go back to over the wicket and fire away a bouncer.
Up and Away…
Okay, we might be back in the original Sharjah? Finch has shown a tendency to walk forward to get his feet going but swung at one from his initial position and smashed it over the long on fence. Are we in for a big score today?
Cummins in the 140s…
Aaron Finch is moving his well early but his Australian compatriot has bowled a fiery first over – full of balls in the 140ks. This is going to be an intruiging match-up.
TOSS: RCB opt to bat. They bring in Mohammad Siraj for Gurkeerat Singh Mann. KKR leave out Sunil Narine and bring in Tom Banton. Andre Russell passes fit to play
Now, that’s a bold prediction…
Early KKR news…
There are visuals of Andre Russell training right now. Dinesh Karthik did say he generally has his heart in his mouth every time there’s an injury scare for the big West Indian.
Also, Tom Banton is in for today!This means Narine has dropped to the bench after being reported for an illegal bowling action and put on a warning list.
Prelude – Which Sharjah will welcome RCB and KKR today?
Howdy folks! Now usually previews are all about the teams, and what they’ve done and what they’ve not. What they’ve got and what they’ve not. What they can and what they won’t. But hey, tonight’s game is at Sharjah, which is starting to throw teams off the grid a little.
Five games have been played at the famous venue and the first-innings scores in the first four of them were – 216/7, 223/2, 228/4 and 208/5. And in each of these four games (including second innings scores), only once was the 200-run mark not reached. In fact, Rajasthan Royals even chased down KXIP’s 223/2. Swiftly, the stadium built a reputation – the antidote to the tactical and broad grounds of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
But wait, there’s a twist. In the last game played there, just three days ago, the conditions threw a tantrum. Delhi Capitals, asked to bat first, needed 62 off the last 30 balls to huff and puff to 184/8. Rajasthan had chased about 50 more than that previously, but didn’t see what was coming to hit them. They were dismantled for a meagre 138 – raising different kinds of questions.
The first question that Sharjah put forth was this – Is there really a way out for bowlers? And then did a complete U-turn, by dishing out a bowler-friendly surface, and a Fantasty cricket reality check.
Coming to the teams…
Chris Morris has given RCB a sort of balance that they’ve yearned for years. He admitted to being as nervous as he was before his Test debut, but was rather influential with the ball (3 for 19 in 4 overs) in his debut game for RCB. There really is no room for changes here, even if Aaron Finch’s form can be considered a tad worrisome. RCB are currently fourth, Virat Kohli is back in form, so there should be a long rope waiting for Australia’s limited-overs captain.
KKR couldn’t have arrived at Sharjah with a worse predicament. The league threw them a curveball by reporting Sunil Narine for a suspect action and placing him on a warning list – one more strike and he can’t bowl in the tournament again. And Andre Russell was struggling with an injury in the previous game. Sharjah conditions could be changing colours but the boundaries are still short – they’ve always been short – so KKR will do everything in their power to get the big West Indian fit. The official twitter handle has already put out a tease, by talking about Russell’s numbers against RCB and what he could do tonight. We’ll have to wait and see for that.
If the KKR management decides not to risk Narine, then there’s a chance Chris Green could be in. He’d be a handy weapon to have on your side in the PP overs. If Russell doesn’t pull through, KKR will have to bring Tom Banton in and will have to sacrifice an Indian batsman – likely to be Rahul Tripathi despite his form – in order to play an extra bowlers. Lot’s of decisions to be taken for DK and Co. At least they’ve come in at the back of two very solid wins – both snatched from clear losing positions. The mood and resolve in that dressing room should be upbeat.
© Fame Dubai