Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) had a day to forget as they could muster only 84 runs in 20 overs and suffered an 8-wicket defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi. This was their second loss to their arch-rivals in the mega T20 tournament underway in UAE. Highlighting on their performances, KKR skipper Eoin Morgan felt that they should have bowled first on the conditions that were put forth.
“Being 4/5 down early on is not the position we wanted to be in. RCB bowled well and probably looking at the conditions, we should have bowled first. We will learn our lessons and move on to the next game. It was a question of backing the young Indian guys who showed glimpses of talent and potential,” Morgan said in the post-match presentation.
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Opting to bat first, KKR set a target of 85 runs with Morgan (30, 34b) being the highest run-getter while others faltered in getting past the 20-run mark in individual tallies.
Their top and middle-order entirely collapsed which took away the chances of getting to a competitive total.
Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana scored a solitary each and was dismissed on consecutive deliveries in Mohammed Siraj’s over. Few deliveries later, Shubman Gill (1) departed while trying to pull Navdeep Saini’s delivery. Tom Banton too couldn’t wreak any damage as Siraj lured him out on a length ball.
The duo of Dinesh Karthik (4) and Eoin Morgan was trying to settle down for a big total, but their efforts went in vain as leggie Yuzvendra Chahal plumbed Karthik in the ninth over, bringing the score to 33/5.
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In the end, Lockie Ferguson (19*) and Kuldeep Yadav (12) added an unbeaten 27-run stand for the eighth-wicket, which was the partnership in the KKR innings.
Among KKR bowlers, pacer Lockie Ferguson (1/17) emerged as the top-performer followed by Pat Cummins (0/18) and spinner Varun Chakravarthy (0/28).
Mohammed Siraj rises on the occasion
RCB’s bowling attack was the highlight of the show, especially the spells from pacer Mohammed Siraj, who became the first bowler in IPL history to bowl two consecutive maiden overs, grabbed the wickets of Tripathi, Rana, and Banton, and ended with career-best figures of 4-2-8-3.
The spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal (2/15) and Washington Sundar (1/14) bowled brilliantly as they curbed KKR’s scoring ability. Not to mention, Chris Morris, who rendered an economical show of 4-1-16-0, and was followed by fellow pacer Navdeep Saini (1/28).
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Morgan credited RCB’s bowling department and the manner in which they capitalized on the wicket offered.
“They managed to exploit anything that was on offer and given the nature of the tournament every time you have to be at your best against every team,” said the 34-year-old.
Andre Russell had suffered a knee injury in the game against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on October 10. To add to it, the Jamaican cricketer encountered a niggle at the same spot against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Sunday. As a result, English cricketer Tom Banton had come as a replacement in the recent outing versus RCB, however, he could contribute just 10 runs off 8 deliveries comprising a four and a six before being dismissed by Mohammed Siraj.
Meanwhile, Sunil Narine, who was reported for a suspected bowling action after KKR clinched a nail-biting win over KXIP on October 10, has been cleared by IPL’s Suspect Bowling Action Committee.
The Caribbean duo holds great importance in the scheme of things for KKR and thus, Morgan strongly believes that their presence in the coming games could strengthen the chances of their team making the playoffs.
“Hopefully they (Russell and Narine) will be available around the corner and we know when guys of that caliber, particularly all-rounders are available, things will be different. Hopefully, they will be available soon,” Morgan added.
KKR is still at the 4th spot with 5 wins in 10 matches, 10 points, and an NRR of -0.828. The Eoin Morgan-led side would now gear up to face the Delhi Capitals (DC) on October 24 in Abu Dhabi.