Warne’s boys got walloped twice in as many days by an up and coming Kolkata Knight Rider. It was the home match for the KKR and the game was supposed to be a cliffhanger, especially given the pitch was a slow turner and the RR were led by none other than the maestro Shane Warne.
But things were supposed to happen very differently.
As I had predicted earlier, the two KKR wins on the trot had stirred up the Kolkatans’ fervor for the game and Eden gardens was choc-a-block full today, as is supposed to happen on T20 game days. That it was a Sunday following a long weekend also added to the numbers.
Gambhir called correctly at the toss and set the mood for the game. Once again, he decided to chase by putting the RR in to bat. They began well, but things started to go awfully wrong when Balaji produced a gem of a delivery to get rid of the dangerous Shane Watson. The RR did not repeat the mistake of holdiong back Watson for the later overs like they did a couple of days ago, but it was to no avail.
After pummeling a slower bouncer from Balaji to mid wicket boundary, Watson got one which pitched on middle and leg stump and swung away after pitching. Although he was attempting an over ambitious flick off his toes, playing mostly across the line, the swing beat him, clipped the top of his off stump and set the mood for the day. With deliveries like this in his repertoire, it does not make absolutely any sense when Balaji persists in bowling those nonsense slow bouncers in a series.
There is nothing much to be written about the Royal innings thereafter, besides the terrific run out of Fazal effected by Iqbal Abdullah off his own bowling and the down the leg side stumping of the dangerous Ross Taylor off offie Yusuf Pathan. Ross Taylor had shimmied down the pitch, Pathan fired the ball in on the leg stump line, it turned a bit after pitching and clipped the pads of Taylor. Bisla got to it with both hands and whipped off the bails before Taylor could get his bat in. Terrific keeping.
And that brings me to the issue of the chase. Thankfully, the law of averages decided to catch up with Kallis on a day when his services could have been done without. He got late on a Shaun Tait bouncer hurled at 151 km/hr, and just managed to scoop it up in the air to be caught by Ross Taylor.
That brings me to my pet cribbing man: Manvinder Bisla. He was exceptionally sharp behind the stumps today, but by no extent of imagination has he got the temperament or the skills to be an opening batsman. Why Gambhir is yet unable to see that is entirely baffling. Once again, he failed today, and was dismissed trying to hit Warne out of the park. Abhishek Raut took a stunning catch, diving full length to pluck the ball out of thin air.
With Bisla and Kallis both back, it was up to Gambhiir and Tiwari to see the side home. Tiwari was the more eggressivree of the two and ended up smashing Tait around in his last over teo bring the scores to level. And so very significantly, it was Gambhir who deposited a fast, wide full toss into the square cover fence to bring up the winning runs.
KKR has won an emphatic victory, there is no doubts about the qualiy of the team, but the problem is that:
- they need to find an effective opener, one who can help Kallis out at the top.
- their bowling is still very ragged and it needs some teeth.
Anyways. It is time to celebrate the fact that the KKR is finally outlasting the challenges. Way to go!