Sunday brought another disappointing loss for Royal Challengers Bangalore as Kolkata Knight Riders went on to chase down 176 run target. The loss was even more disconcerting for the RCB captain Virat Kohli, who was playing at the team’s home ground in the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. The teams entered with striking differences in their playing eleven. While KKR opted for an unchanged squad from the last match, showing great confidence in the U-19 Shivam Mavi, RCB made four changes in the team.
Playing first, RCB openers put on a sloppy show. Quinton de Kock and Brendon McCullum mistimed several shots, consuming 10 and 7 dot balls each. With AB de Villiers missing from the team, RCB was concerned less with making runs and more with keeping wickets at hand. In the first eight overs, the team was 67 for no loss. The teams 100 came in 14 overs, after losing 3 wickets. Kohli put on a great batting spectacle, stealing 68 runs (not out) to help the team reach 175 on board.
The skipper handled the team’s situation well, staying uncharacteristically quiet during the first 10 deliveries and then hitting tow fours off Mavi and two sixes off Andre Russell. He finished the team’s innings with a six in the last delivery but with 68 off 44 balls, this couldn’t be termed as his best on field. In fact, in the past 18 matches against KKR, his performance has been less than spectacular.
RCB then entered with a new opening pair of Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee against KKR but they could hardly make an impact. KKR opening batsmen were easily hitting runs, gathering 40 runs in the first four overs. This effectively neutralized the tight two overs by Yuzvendra Chahal.
For KKR, Lynn’s presence was what mattered the most. The player, known for his beautifully timed sweeps, wasn’t his 100% on the field, tanks to a shoulder brace. He mistimed a few shots and was seen struggling during his time on field. Even with a limited bat swing ability, he managed an unbeaten 62 for his team. Virat Kohli, in hopes of troubling the player and getting him out off-guard, tried even inexperienced spinners like Murugan Ashwin but Lynn didn’t look too bothered. His innings could have been cut short by Ashwin when he dropped the Australian’s catch in the fourth over.
In the last 5 overs, KKR needed 52 runs. Nitish Rana was retired hurt during the match and Russell went out on his first ball. Skipper Dinesh Karthik then assumed the responsibility of a finish, which he has been handling very well since the past few games. His 23-run innings, with two fours in the first four balls and one six off Mohammad Siraj, helped gather 15 runs for the team in the last two overs, helping them win the match.
KKR is now in the top four, while RCB is still in the bottom half of the points tally, even with some of the best batsmen on their team. RCB will meet Mumbai Indians in two days, while KKR will face Chennai Super Kings on 3rd May.