Let us all learn a lesson today, a lesson of how one can refuse to learn from their preceding idiocy and continue to devolve themselves into a bunch of melancholic mess, concocting a jinx that beating the defending champions is simply beyond their reach.
This story is about one of the most glittering monikers of the domestic cricketing extravaganza in India, the Kolkata Knight Riders who managed to lose their fourth consecutive clash against the Mumbai Indians.
However, until the 15th over, it never felt as if Kolkata can lose the game as the equation not only seemed simple but was tossed in the Knights’ favour by an overwhelming stride. However, someone had to blaze the trail of howlers and the man who was supposed to walk out as a hero of the Knights, embarked upon a long and cold walk of shame with his head held low in dudgeon and KKR’s hopes dangling by a thread.
We are raving about Nitish Rana. Rahul Chahar was bowling his dream spell today that already saw him claiming three crucial wickets. There was one more ball to bowl that would have seen the end of his spell and a set Rana at the crease and a relatively new Shakib at the other end. However, Rana wanted to fashion himself as Virender Sehwag and challenge the most daunting bowlers of all.
Not everyone can be Sehwag and his wee shimmy down the track without an inkling of the fact that where exactly did the ball go, cost him his scalp and Kolkata their best hope to wrap up the encounter in the most convincing fashion. Let me remind you that the required rate at that point in time was just 6 runs per over. There was no brashness required and run a ball would have easily done the trick.
However, going by the numbers, it still seemed an easy game for Kolkata to win with two recognized batsmen in the middle, namely Dinesh Karthik and Shakib. Karthik did a decent job in the last game and it was pretty much his forte.
If we all tend to remember that crucial T20 game in the 2016 World Cup where Bangladesh needed two from three balls against India and ended up losing the game in pursuit of glory shots, Shakib emulated his nation’s feat in very close lockstep. Once again where he could have simply flipped the deliveries for singles and doubles, he chose to take the aerial route and bam! Suryakumar Yadav pouched a simple take at deep square leg.
Now the next situation that followed can only be described by one humdinger play of Shakespeare and it is called The Comedy of Errors. The two primary characters turned antagonists of this infamous play were Karthik and Russell.
Before I take you for a ride into this new-age drama by Kolkata, let me give you a brief heads up about Russell’s new batting technique that has been failing him for more than a year and yet he is naïve enough to cling to that in a fiercer manner than Harrison Ford held on to that rooftop in Blade Runner.
He takes a weird stance that renders him unbalanced straightaway as his front foot is already askew. Now if a bowler tends to pepper him with those short balls that is very much it for the big man. He will come in the middle, flail his willow as hard as he can with the invisible hope that a ball connects and kisses the ropes. In one word, he is a blind batsman and if you choose to be that feckless at such a high level of cricket, you do not deserve any more shots unless the team is running short of players.
He was out there in the middle with Karthik and he still had the luxury of playing out one over from Krunal Pandya to get his eyes set. Haplessly, he started looking edgy from the very beginning and was dropped twice, once by Krunal Pandya and the other time by Bumrah. However, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Had he been dismissed earlier, this would have brought out Cummins or Harbhajan Singh, wherein both of them has a decent history of blitzkriegs if they can get their eyes in for a couple of deliveries. Cummins smoked Bumrah for four sixes in an over in the preceding edition while Harbhajan has his own sweet story with the blade that saw him taking out Darren Gough and Brett Lee in their primes.
By the time, Russell was dismissed and Cummins had to come out, Kolkata was neck-deep in the defeat and it needed something miraculous to come to their deliverance. Karthik couldn’t even connect with half of the deliveries and his restless dance in the middle made it even worse for Kolkata as all of it went down in flames.
However, not all of it can really be blamed on the circus that Kolkata had up for grabs towards the end. Shubman Gill has this particular predilection towards getting out after getting a rock-solid start and most of those dismissals have been in the most reckless fashion. He was actually very much in control of situations today when he smoked Rahul Chahar for a four and a six. However, he wanted to pen his name in the ruffled pages of history as the man who braved the leggie and in the process holed out to the long-off in relatively meek and docile submission.
Morgan committed a similar error and wanted to strike the skies in hope of some God grabbing the cherry and throwing it to the stands but once again his little hunt of glory resulted in his dismissal.
Another glaring factor that needs to be addressed is the leakage that Prasidh Krishna has been doing until now. His line and length and been woeful and the impact that he has had in the game is absolutely zero. Yet, Baz will not resort to the likes of Nagarkoti and Mavi.
There is one simple solution for Kolkata now if they will have to end this Russell quandary and the answer to that is another all-rounder, Ben Cutting. That man has already proven his worth and is a much more effective bowling all-rounder who can eke out a complete quota of four overs at a much decent economy rate.
Kolkata can also resort to the likes of Tim Seifert and bring in Mavi and Nagarkoti to watch the bowling department. If none of these combinations manifests results for the two-time champions, the last resort will be Sunil Narine and until now the turn that the pitches have offered, he won’t be a bad choice at all.
No matter whatsoever is the scenario, Kolkata needs to understand that Russell has been rendered redundant by the other teams and they will need a much more dynamic option either in Ben Cutting or Tim Seifert if they do not want a repeat of 2020.
A die-hard KKR fan.