Royal Challengers Bangalore 194/2 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 73, Aaron Finch 47 ; Varun Chakravarthy 4-0-25-0) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 112/9 in 20 overs (Chris Morris 4-0-17-2, Washington Sundar 4-0-20-2, Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-12-1) by 82 runs
21 out of the 22 guys on the field today looked liked they were playing on a slow, tricky pitch at Sharjah, while AB de Villiers seemed like he was batting on the flattest wicket at Chinnaswamy Stadium. Not Kieron Pollard, not Andre Russell, de Villiers is the biggest cheat code in the game.
Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch teed off for a good start, with the youngster impressing once again. His 32 included two fours off Pat Cummins, where he stepped out and smashed one of the world’s premier pacers over covers. Virat Kohli joined Finch after the southpaw fell, but there was a lull in scoring due to some clever bowling by the Knight Riders who were making use of the slowness of the pitch. Dinesh Karthik’s risky decision of going in with 4 bowlers, and Andre Russell seemed to be paying off until de Villiers did what he did. 73 off just 33 balls on a pitch where Kohli got his first and only boundary off an edge off his 25th ball! Varun Chakravarthy bamboozled both Kohli and Finch, and Cummins and Kamlesh Nagarkoti both had good games apart from their respective final overs.
KKR had opted to go in with a batsman for Narine, and were expected to go all guns blazing out right from the start due to them batting deep down the order. Debutant Tom Banton and his U19 World Cup rival Shubman Gill gave a whimpering of a start to KKR. Gill stayed for a while, playing a decent knock before being run out. No other Knight Rider seemed up for it, and most of them ended up in single digits. A lot of credit needs to go to the entire RCB bowling lineup who made sure KKR were never really in this chase.
RCB has almost recovered from its net run rate deficit, but by the looks of it, they should qualify comfortably without needing to worry about that column. RCB won this game like a champion team, and the hopes and expectations of the fans is higher than ever before
MAN OF THE MATCH
AB de Villiers
15 overs into the innings, RCB were at 111 for the loss of 2 wickets. AB then took over and exhibited a stunning display of boundary hitting. He took them from a possible score of 150, to an improbable 194. He smashed six sixes and five fours in his knock striking way over 200. He cleared the boundary at will, even causing some delays in traffic on the road outside.
KKR’S team combination
KKR’s decision of going in with four proper bowlers and Andre Russell seems to have backfired. KKR chose one batsman too many, leaving them short of options on the bowling front. On a slow and low wicket, Varun Chakravarthy showed how difficult it is to play a spinner. The question before the match was which one of Gill and Rahul Tripathi would come in at 3, but it turned out to be neither. Tripathi was sent in way down the order, and as an opener would’ve shown far more intent than Banton or Gill. Sunil Narine has been bowling brilliantly at the death, KKR really needed someone like Cummins to have at least one more over towards the end even though it’s doubtful if anyone can stop de Villiers when he is in that kind of form.
Demolition job by RCB’s bowling unit
RCB’s issues with their bowling has been a hot topic for many years now. But this game showed the kind of potential the bowling unit has if everyone performs. Each of their six bowlers on the night bagged at least one wicket, and all of them went at less than the required run rate. KKR should have copied the blueprint and mirrored their approach to that of RCB. The team needed a quick start against Bangalore’s quicks before the spinners came on and dried things up.
WHO DO THEY PLAY NEXT?
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings 11 Punjab on October 15th (Thursday) at Sharjah
Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders on October 16th (Friday) at Abu Dhabi
ALSO READ: THE UNWANTED ELEVEN