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 Eoin Morgan that saw Kolkata belting out their best performance in the last two seasons.
#1 The attacking intent was intact throughout the match
Kolkata’s body language didn’t ease for a single second ever since the onset of the game as they registered a couple of direct hits and a few brilliant dives in the field to clarify their intentions. Even after the early haul of wickets that brought down RCB to its knees, Kolkata kept a stringent check on RCB scoring runs and didn’t give them anything to break free. Even when they came out to bat, it felt like that they mean business and had no intentions of any kind of experimentations. Gill came back to form as he scorched the RCB bowlers handsomely while debutant Iyer took the opportunity imparted to him to wreck the RCB ship. It was for the first time in a while that KKR maintained a 9 plus run rate in the powerplay for the first time in the current edition of the tournament.
#2 A brilliant rotation of bowlers
It is of utmost importance that you as a skipper can modulate your bowling options impressively to inflict a rampage upon the opposition. Morgan pulled it off perfectly as he shuffled between the bowlers in a stellar fashion. He wanted to grab every single opportunity that came his way and it bore handsome fruits for the Knights. Andre Russell who usually bowls the death overs was introduced much earlier than anticipated and he claimed the big fish of ABD for naught. Similarly, Morgan perfectly rotated Narine and Chakravarthy to exploit the biggest weakness of RCB and that is their middle-overs. Bangalore could hardly break free in the middle-overs with a consistent fall of wickets and it was then when CV Varun pulled off his storm of googlies.