Pacer’s opening spell of 3-2-2-3 hurts Kolkata, which can only manage 84 for eight; Kohli’s men win with 6.3 overs to spare and move to second
Mohammed Siraj steamrollered Kolkata Knight Riders with a blistering fast-bowling display (4-2-8-3) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The 84 runs that KKR managed for the loss of eight wickets was the lowest total in IPL history for a team that wasn’t bowled out. Royal Challengers Bangalore romped home with eight wickets and more than six overs to spare.
Pat Cummins was economical in the PowerPlay (3-0-18-0) but KKR needed wickets. Lockie Ferguson, who had impressed against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, was introduced only in the seventh over, by which point Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch had slashed the target by half and there was no turning around.
The win lifted Virat Kohli’s men to second spot (14 points), ever closer to the playoffs, which has eluded the side since 2016.
For KKR (10 points), the crushing defeat can potentially drag it into the scrap for the last playoff position.
Kohli lost the toss, but struck gold with every roll of the dice, right from selecting Siraj in place of Shahbaz Ahmed, to the bowling changes he rang in through the contest. KKR never recovered from Siraj’s opening spell (3-2-2-3).
The pacer made full use of the moderate swing, and was aided by some impulsive batting.
KKR scored just 17 runs in the PowerPlay for the loss of four wickets. Rahul Tripathi went first, caught by A.B. de Villiers while trying to glide an away-going delivery from Siraj to third-man.
Nitish Rana was out next ball when he pushed forward without accounting for the movement, only for the ball to curl in and hit the off-stump.
Navdeep Saini, the first-change bowler, excised Shubman Gill.
Tom Banton, who replaced Andre Russell, drove a half-volley beautifully down the ground and then sent Saini soaring over the deep square-leg boundary. But his counter-attack was short-lived, caught by de Villiers when he swung at Siraj without moving his feet.
Siraj’s first two overs were both maidens, the first time in IPL history anyone had done so. These were superb returns for someone who has often attracted criticism for being profligate.
Then, the Yuzvendra Chahal-Washington Sundar double act suffocated KKR, with just 16 runs coming off six overs (nine to 14). Chahal trapped Dinesh Karthik leg-before with a googly that spun slightly and then outwitted Cummins with a teaser.
When Washington snuffed out Morgan (30, 34b, 3×4, 1×6) in the 16th over, all hopes of a KKR recovery had evaporated.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Shubman Gill c Morris b Saini 1 (6b), Rahul Tripathi c de Villiers b Siraj 1 (5b), Nitish Rana b Siraj 0 (1b), Tom Banton c de Villiers b Siraj 10 (8b, 1×4, 1×6), Dinesh Karthik lbw b Chahal 4 (14b), Eoin Morgan c Gurkeerat b Washington 30 (34b, 3×4, 1×6), Pat Cummins c Padikkal b Chahal 4 (17b), Kuldeep Yadav run out 12 (19b, 1×4), Lockie Ferguson (not out) 19 (16b, 1×4); Extras (lb-2, w-1): 3; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 84.
FALL OF WICKETS1-3 (Tripathi, 1.3 overs), 2-3 (Rana, 1.4), 3-3 (Gill, 2.2), 4-14 (Banton, 3.3), 5-32 (Karthik, 8.4), 6-40 (Cummins, 12.3), 7-57 (Morgan, 15.4), 8-84 (Kuldeep, 19.6).
RCB BOWLINGMorris 4-1-16-0, Siraj 4-2-8-3, Saini 3-0-23-1, Udana 1-0-6-0, Chahal 4-0-15-2, Washington 4-1-14-1.
Devdutt Padikkal run out 25 (17b, 3×4), Aaron Finch c Karthik b Ferguson 16 (21b, 2×4), Gurkeerat Mann (not out) 21 (26b, 4×4), Virat Kohli (not out) 18 (17b, 2×4); Extras (lb-2, w-3): 5; Total (for two wkts. in 13.3 overs): 85.
FALL OF WICKETS
1-46 (Finch, 6.2), 2-46 (Padikkal, 6.4).
KNIGHT RIDERS BOWLING
Cummins 3-0-18-0, Prasidh 2.3-0-20-0, Varun 4-0-28-0, Ferguson 4-0-17-1.
Toss: KKR; MoM: Siraj.
RCB won by eight wickets with 6.3 overs to spare.