Here’s Abs Samanta back again with the fourth article in the KKR preview & review series. This will be the first article posted on Sports Radio America. If you would like to check out my other three pieces, the links will be provided at the end of the article. Today’s article features the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). KKR is coming off a close, rain-assisted loss of seven runs, while RCB had an eight-wicket victory against the Mumbai Indians (MI) where three of their batters went rampaging.
Photo Cred: India TV News. (L) Nitish Rana, (R) Faf du Plessis
Match Information and Result
Date– April 6th, 2023.
Stadium– Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Photo Cred: Wikipedia- Creator: Nahid Sultan
Toss– RCB won the toss, chose to bowl/field.
Result– KKR won by 81 runs.
Player of the Match– Shardul Thakur (KKR).
Scores– First innings: KKR 204/7 (20). Second innings: RCB 123/10 (17.4).
Photo Cred: Twitter
- RHB: Right-Hand Bat
- LHB: Left-Hand Bat
- RAM: Right-Arm Medium
- RAF: Right-Arm Fast
- RAMF: Right-Arm Medium-Fast
- RAFM: Right-Arm Fast-Medium
- LAFM: Left-Arm Fast-Medium
- SLA: Slow Left-Arm Orthodox
- OB: Off Break (Right-Arm)
- LBG: Leg Break Googly
- LB: Leg Break
Pre-Match Playing XIs, Substitutes, and Impact Players
Kolkata Knight Riders
- Mandeep Singh RHB, RAM
- Rahmanullah Gurbaz (overseas- Afghanistan) (wicketkeeper) RHB
- Nitish Rana (captain) LHB, RAM & OB
- Rinku Singh LHB, OB
- Andre Russell (overseas- West Indies/Jamaica) RHB, RAF
- Shardul Thakur RHB, RAM
- Sunil Narine (overseas- West Indies/Trinidad and Tobago) LHB, OB
- Venkatesh Iyer LHB, RAM
- Tim Southee (overseas- New Zealand) RHB, RAMF
- Umesh Yadav RHB, RAF
- Varun Chakravarthy RHB, LBG
- Suyash Sharma RHB, LB
- Vaibhav Arora RHB, RAFM
- Narayan Jagadeesan RHB
- Anukul Roy LHB, SLA
- David Wiese (overseas- Namibia, born in and previously represented South Africa) RHB, RAMF
Impact Player selection– Suyash Sharma: Replaced Venkatesh Iyer, bowled four overs.
Photo Cred: T20 World Cup (Russell) Photo Cred: Zee News (Narine)
Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Virat Kohli RHB, RAM
- Faf du Plessis (overseas- South Africa) (captain) RHB, LB
- Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper) RHB, OB
- Glenn Maxwell (overseas- Australia) RHB, OB
- Michael Bracewell (overseas- New Zealand) LHB, OB
- Shahbaz Ahmed LHB, SLA
- Harshal Patel RHB, RAM
- David Willey (overseas- England) LHB, LAFM
- Akash Deep RHB, RAFM
- Mohammed Siraj RHB, RAF
- Karn Sharma LHB, LBG
- Finn Allen (overseas- New Zealand) RHB
- Sonu Yadav RHB, RAMF
- Mahipal Lomror LHB, SLA
- Suyash Prabhudessai RHB, RAM
- Anuj Rawat LHB
Impact Player selection– Anuj Rawat: Replaced Mohammed Siraj, batted at no. 8.
Photo Cred: Sportzwiki (Kohli) Photo Cred: News18 (Siraj)
What a Topsy-Turvy Innings for KKR!
Watching this game from start to finish, it looked like you were watching several different matches being rolled into one. The Knight Riders started off slowly in the powerplay, only scoring 47/2 in six overs. A ball into the seventh over led to a third wicket, and all hope seemed lost at that point, at least to me. I could not have expected the fireworks that occurred to happen. At that point in the game, 21-year-old Gurbaz was trying to keep the run rate going but was losing partners by his side cheaply. Kolkata managed to try to stabilize the score from overs 7-11, with Rinku Singh being a slow starter but nevertheless sticking by Gurbaz’s side.
Photo Cred: myKhel (Gurbaz) Photo Cred: Rediff.com (Thakur)
Over no. 12 was when craziness arrived once again. In a span of two balls, the top-scorer (at that point) Gurbaz and our West Indian talisman Andre Russell were removed by spinner Karn Sharma. Who would’ve thought that Shardul Thakur, a possible candidate to lose his spot by Cricinfo in their KKR-RCB preview, would’ve been the hero we needed? Thakur almost came in striking the ball nonchalantly from the word go. Fast forward to the 19th over, and what did we see? A 103-run partnership between Thakur and Rinku! Those two got the score from 89/5 to 192/6! Rinku would, unfortunately, have to depart four runs short of his 50. Thakur would get out in the next over too, having scored a 29-ball 68. Six runs from Umesh Yadav would bring KKR’s total to an unbelievable 204/7.
And the Luck Continues!
Remember when I said KKR got lucky somehow in their first game of the season? What was sure to be a double-digit loss only ended up being a seven-run loss due to the combination of several factors. The rain (which shortened the game), the bowling errors (allowed for extra runs), and a few cameos from our middle and lower-order players. Seven runs mean that the game could’ve been either way, only by means of a technicality. That luck just continued in their second game too.
Photo Cred: Republic World Photo Cred: ESPNcricinfo
First things first, the RCB bowlers were not disciplined at all. They conceded 23 extra runs, mostly because of wides. The three no-balls were particularly costly too, as two of the free hits were dispatched for the maximum six runs and another two runs also came off one of them. Second of all, ‘Lord Thakur’ just kept getting his way continuously! His first shot was an inside edge that was close to the stumps but carried all the way to the boundary. Three balls later, a similar fielding problem emerged: both times, the fielder in the deep was close to the ball but could not stop it from reaching the boundary. Four runs were scored each time. Finally, there were the mishits. Thakur had three of them, all landing safely in between fielders or in no man’s land!
RCB, What Happened?
I guess we are all asking that question, fans and opposition alike. As long as the opening partnership of Kohli and du Plessis was at the crease, there was no real danger for the Royal Challengers. Indeed, those two cartwheeled off a quickfire 44-run partnership over the course of 29 deliveries. Pandemonium would soon ensue for Bangalore, however… It was “spin to win” for KKR, as the spin twins of Narine and Chakravarthy cleaned up the top-three RCB batters and a promoted player (Harshal Patel).
Photo Cred: NDTV Sports Photo Cred: AP News
Very quickly, 42/0 in four overs (a 10.50 RR when they needed 10.18) became 54/4 in another four overs. While the ninth over saw a fifth wicket fall, 17 runs without a wicket in two overs meant things were relatively stabilizing between the two batters at the crease (Bracewell and Karthik). Contrary to his name, Bracewell did not brace RCB well enough, as he’d be the next player to depart. Then came the impact player, and what an impact he made! Suyash Sharma, on his first-ever big competition debut, would take wickets no. 7 and 8 in his second over before returning in the 15th over to claim a third wicket.
Photo Cred: India TV News (Suyash) Photo Cred: IPL T20
Now came the last leg of the game. Akash Deep and David Willey would at least get RCB above the 100-run mark, combining for 27 runs when the game was all but lost. Even then, an 81-run loss could’ve been higher, so the NRR difference could be the deciding factor closer to the end of the season.
The Positives and the Negatives
Kolkata Knight Riders
- Just as coach Chandrakant Pandit stated, “Boys have shown the character“. From where this game was once for the Knight Riders, the ending and the result did not seem possible.
- Rahmanullah Gurbaz seems to have solved one half of the opener equation for us. He has hit 79 runs in 60 balls over the span of two games.
- It’s good to know that we have a long batting lineup from nos. 1 to at least 10. With the exception of Chakravarthy (and Suyash), everyone else has had some success with the bat in some part of their career. It’s because of this string of batters that we even stayed alive in this match, especially with Thakur’s contributions at no. 7. Umesh being able to contribute with a four and two off his two deliveries faced also helped us cross the 200-run mark.
- Rinku also held an important holding role to stick around with Gurbaz and Thakur to help stabilize the batting. Without his 33-ball 46, we’d have been in further danger.
- Except for Southee, this was a wonderful bowling performance by Kolkata! Everyone had an economy rate under 8.00 (Umesh was at 8.50, but that is also acceptable) and there were three bowlers with two or more wickets.
- Narine: 2/16 (4), 4.00 econ
- Chakravarthy: 4/15 (3.4), 4.09 econ
- Suyash: 3/30 (4), 7.50 econ
- KKR is 2/2 in terms of Impact Player choice! Against the Punjab Kings, Venkatesh Iyer delivered a handy knock to stabilize the score for us. Two days ago, Suyash Sharma gave as an awesome contribution of three wickets on debut.
Photo Cred: India Posts English (Rinku) Photo Cred: InsideSport.IN
- Early batting collapse. Within 6.1 overs, we lost three of our top-four batters cheaply (scores of 3, 0, and 1).
- Russell’s “see ball, hit ball” mentality came back to bite him. At a crucial time in the game (89/4 in 11.2 overs) when we needed him the most, he got out on the first ball he faced. He was trying to take on spinner Karn Sharma but holed out to Kohli at long-off. While it didn’t ultimately hurt us, he needs to read the match situations a bit better. Just imagine the impact a steady Russell could’ve provided us at that stage.
- Venkatesh up top might no longer be a viable option. We might have to ask him to come at no. 4 or 5. At least he’s been performing in that role domestically, so we might need to play to his strengths.
- Southee (2/79 in six overs) and Mandeep (two runs in five balls) may no longer be viable for everyday roles.
Photo Cred: Gulf News (Bracewell on the left, Karn in the middle, Rinku on the right)
Royal Challengers Bangalore
- For two moments in the matchup, it seemed like either Willey or Karn were going to join the three previous RCB bowlers to claim an IPL hat-trick. It just showed KKR how much in control of the game they were, up until Thakur’s knock with Rinku.
- What a replacement Willey has been! Having to replace his fellow Englishman Reece Topley, Willey delivered on both fronts of the game. Bowling in the first innings, he got two wickets for 16 runs in four overs, including a double-wicket maiden! Batting at no. 9, he got 20 runs in 20 balls to help RCB at least pass 100 runs.
- du Plessis and Kohli continued their rampage together up top. After a 148-run partnership against the Mumbai Indians, they added another 44 runs together vs. KKR.
- Nice to see a no. 11 batter hit the big shots! Makes the game more entertaining! Bihar-born Akash Deep’s eight-ball 17-run cameo helped Bangalore at least reach the 123 they ended up with. Deep has some history with the Eden Gardens due to him representing Bengal domestically, so he was “back home”.
- Karn has been doing really well as the main spin-bowling option while Sri Lankan Wanindu Hasaranga has been out of the side. He picked up four wickets in two matches with a sub-8.00 economy rate both times.
Photo Cred: Scroll.in (Willey) Photo Cred: India Today
- Not a good day for the Bangalore bowlers… Four players conceded over 30 runs with at least two overs bowled. At the same time, 23 extras were conceded by the entire bowling core, which just further added to the pain.
- A batting collapse of their own. RCB players from nos. 4-8 only combined for 16 runs (nine coming from one player, Karthik) while taking up 27 balls to do so.
- After du Plessis-Kohli, there weren’t really many solid partnerships. Bracewell and Karthik tried to fight back as much as they could, which led to a 16-ball, 22-run partnership. After them, only Willey managed to go on the offensive by himself before finding a partner in Deep.
- Until Willey at no. 9 and Deep at no. 11, no other RCB batter got to double digits batting other than Bracewell (19 off 18). Willey and Deep had to go for shots because: 1. their backs were against the wall and 2. they had nothing to lose except their wickets, so that encouraged more aggressive stroke play.
- No impact from the Impact Player. Having no need to use one in their first game, the Royal Challengers made 23-year-old Anuj Rawat their inaugural Impact Player selection. However, he could only add one run to the total while taking up five balls.
- Player unavailability:
- During an in-match interview, head coach Sanjay Bangar had announced that Topley had been ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury. He had himself an awesome debut, taking one wicket in two overs while giving up just 14 runs.
- Topley is not the only RCB player ruled out for the season, nor is he the only Englishman! Excellent top-order batter Rajat Patidar had a heel injury, which is a big blow to the Royal Challengers. He had contributed 404 runs across 12 games in the last two years for them, including delivering some key knocks (112 n.o., for example) at times.
- Topley’s fellow teammate, Will Jacks, suffered a muscle injury in an international match for England vs. Bangladesh. Jacks was a crucial buy in the IPL 2023 auction, with RCB bidding 3.2 crores for him.
- In addition to these three players ruled out for the season, two more players were not available for either of RCB’s first two matches of the season. Hasaranga will arrive in India in a day or two after being a part of the Sri Lanka-New Zealand T20I and ODI series.
- Lastly, Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood will make it to India around April 14th but might still not be able to play initially. While playing for the Aussies against India, he was sent home due to Achilles tendonitis. He still hasn’t fully recovered from this injury and will most likely miss about five more games.
Photo Cred: NDTV Sports
The Links to My KKR Preview & Review Series
- My Thoughts on the Kolkata Knight Riders for the IPL 2023 season (also includes the condensed preview of KKR vs. PBKS)
- IPL 2023 Match 2 Condensed Review- KKR vs. PBKS
- IPL 2023 Match 9 Condensed KKR Preview