After losing five games in the first half of the Indian T20 League 2021, Kolkata were desperate to turn around things and they did. Playing Bangalore in their first game after the resumption of the tournament, the two-time champions won by nine wickets and 60 balls to spare. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Bangalore were bundled out for 92 runs, which Kolkata gunned down with 60 balls to spare and nine wickets remaining. Let’s take a look at the talking points from the game.
A new milestone for Virat Kohli
A day after announcing that he will relinquish his captaincy duties after the on-going Indian T20 League season, Virat Kohli has achieved a new milestone. In the Team Bangalore vs Team Kolkata match, the Bangalore skipper became the first player in Indian T20 League history to feature in 200 matches for a single franchise. Kohli, who has been with the Bangalore team since the inception of the tournament in 2008, batted in 191 innings prior to this match, scoring 6076 runs at an average and strike rate of 37.97 and 130.41. The stats are also laced with five centuries and 40 fifties. Kohli’s 200th match, however, was one to forget after he was removed by Prasidh Krishna for five runs.
RCB players don a blue jersey
As a tribute to Covid-19 frontline warriors in India and around the world, Team Bangalore players walked out onto the field wearing blue jerseys. Since 2011, the Bangalore players have won a special green jersey in at least one match per season as a part of their ‘Go Green Initiative’, through which they promote awareness about green and clean environment. This time, however, the jersey colour was blue. The blue jerseys will be auctioned after the tournament and the revenue generated will be used in vaccinating an underprivileged community in India. GiveIndia and Fankind have collaborated with the franchise for the same.
A night to forget for Team Bangalore
Bangalore registered their fifth-lowest total in the history of the tournament after being bundled out for 92 runs in 19 overs by Team Kolkata. Only four batters scored in double digits, with Devdutt Padikkal’s 22 being the highest individual score. While Kohli managed only five runs, Ab de Villiers registered his sixth duck of the tournament. Before this, his last duck came in the 2015 season.
Bangalore’s lowest total in the Indian T20 league is 49 against Kolkata in 2017, and their joint second-lowest total is 70 each against Rajasthan and Chennai in 2014 and 2019. The third-lowest total of 82 came against Kolkata in 2008 while the fourth lowest of 87 in 2009 against Chennai.
Varun Chakravarthy and Andre Russell bamboozle the batters
Spinners Varun Chakravarthy and Andre Russell teamed up to pick three wickets each and dismantle the Bangalore batting line-up for under 100 runs. After being recently named in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup, Chakravarthy proved why the national selectors made the right decision. The mystery spinner sent back Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby and Wanindu Hasaranga, and he was well supported by Russell, who dismissed Srikar Bharat, Ab de Villiers and Mohammad Siraj. Chakravarthy is now Kolkata’s highest wicket-taker in the current season with 10 wickets in eight matches.
Three players made their Indian T20 League debut in the Bangalore vs Kolkata game. Sri Lankan all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and Andhra keeper-batter KS Bharat debuted for Bangalore, while Madhya Pradesh’s Venkatesh Iyer debuted for Kolkata.
Hasaranga bagged a golden duck on debut, but KS Bharat would be happy to have scored 16 runs, the second highest in a team having the likes of Ab de Villiers and Virat Kohli in its ranks. Iyer, meanwhile, had a night to remember after scoring an unbeaten 41 off 27 balls, including two back to back boundaries in the end to finish off Kolkata’s chase in 10 overs.
A big win for Team Kolkata
Not too many things have gone right for Team Kolkata in the last three editions of the Indian T20 league. Changing the captain from Dinesh Karthik to Eoin Morgan didn’t help either. They failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2019 and 2020, and going by how they performed in the first half of the 2021 season, a playoff berth looked like a huge task. Kolkata won only two of their seven games before traveling to the UAE, but with a nine-wicket win in the first game after the tournament’s resumption, they are now fifth on the points table with six points and separated by the fourth-ranked Mumbai by two points.
After a fantastic performance by the bowlers, a first-wicket partnership of 82 runs between Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer helped the team win with 60 balls to spare, which has drastically improved their net run rate.