Kolkata inflicted a humiliating defeat upon Bangalore as there were incredulous scenes at Abu Dhabi. Third-placed RCB was outclassed, outplayed and mortified by seventh-placed KKR in a lopsided encounter.
Kohli was playing his 200th match and clarified his intentions with a signature cover drive that insinuated a storm for the Knights. However, Prasidh Krishna came back with an excellent riposte as he scalped the Indian skipper with an absolute peach.
Padikkal and Srikar Bharat played a decent partnership between them to shirk the early pressure but it wasn’t enough as Lockie Ferguson reeled them in with a 145 clicks screamer that claimed Padikkal.
Bharat and Maxwell played a small partnership between them but none of them looked comfortable in the middle and it was Dre Russ who hammered the first beats of destruction with a magical over that claimed Srikar Bharat and ABD.
After Russell was done inflicting carnage upon the bowlers, it was time for KKR’s mystery spinner to spread a shadow of an enigma over the Challengers as four of his googlies claimed three wickets that starred the likes of Maxwell and Hasaranga on consecutive deliveries.
In his final over he got the wicket of Sachin Baby who wielded his bat in frustration and ended up holing out to Nitish Rana. It was his stooping hand that got in the way of a rolling delivery that cashed onto the stumps as Kyle Jamieson embarked upon a long ride back home.
Harshal Patel and Siraj struck three quick boundaries to release a gush of pressure but the damage was already done as RCB was hobbling at 83 for 9. Ferguson came back to the attack to dismiss Patel with a back-of-the-hand slower delivery while Russell removed Siraj with another blitzer.
Fans were livid with the abysmal showdown of RCB as the KKR bowlers ran riot. Expecting the pitch to do its magic, the Challengers threw everything they had in their hut at the Kolkata openers. However, a fine and a stormy showdown from Shubman Gill and debutant Venkatesh Iyer sealed the deal for Kolkata without any ado.
In fact, this victory by Kolkata catapulted them to the fifth spot with an exhilarating surplus in the net run rate as they chronicled a 9-wicket victory which is by far the highest margin of win for the Knights in terms of wickets remaining against RCB.
In this story, we will take a glance at two decisions taken by Virat Kohli that saw Royal Challengers Bangalore going down in flames against a pumped-up KKR who seemed desperate to save their campaign.
#1 Winning the toss and batting first
Though Kohli thought that he will be able to replicate Chennai’s success in the opener, he forgot the fact that Kolkata’s biggest weakness lied in their batting. The uncertainty that the team has while batting first, especially against a formidable bowling unit is palpable enough to send them to the deepest depths of despair. The fact that RCB opted to bat allowed KKR a small window to get their eyes in and an early illustration of dominance from the Kolkata bowlers allowed the Knights to amplify this window of dominion.
#2 Not starting the bowling with spin
Kolkata’s spinners were extraordinary as Varun Chakravarthy broke the spine of the RCB batting with a string of unplayable googlies that also landed him three crucial scalps. RCB had a couple of impressive wicket-takers in their ranks in the form of Hasaranga and Chahal. More importantly, Gill shares an overwhelming vulnerability against spin and we have seen instances where Kolkata Knight Riders have actually collapsed after the first wicket. Maybe if Chahal or Hasaranga would have started early and claimed Gill, RCB may have staged a better chance of at least extending the game.