Gujarat Lions won a crucial match against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens and moved up from their last position in the points table. For KKR, it was a largely forgetful day, especially for their bowlers. Having won the toss, Gujarat Lions chose to field in line with the current trend of teams chasing down targets.
Here, we look at five things that went wrong for KKR which cost them this game:
#5 KKR’s sluggish finish in the first innings
At the end of 10 overs, KKR looked like they were set for a huge target well above 200, buoyed by a quick-fire innings from Sunil Narine and a steady partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa. But things slowed down dramatically after Gambhir was caught at mid-wicket to Faulkner in the 12th over.
While Uthappa continued with his fluent innings, runs stopped flowing freely at the other end. Manish Pandey, coming into the game after a match-winning inning against Delhi Daredevils, had a difficult time at the crease against GL’s bowlers, who came back strongly after an ordinary start. In spite of having wickets in hand, Pandey’s slow innings – 24 runs off 21 balls – at a crucial juncture ensured that KKR ended up with a score of 187 only.
Since Gambhir’s wicket, they have added just 73 runs in the last 51 balls. With GL’s best bowler of the season Andrew Tye warming the bench, KKR should have really capitalised on the opportunity. On a good wicket and with a batting line-up consisting of Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Suresh Raina, their score of 187 was not very competitive.
#4 GL takes charge of powerplay
KKR opened their bowling with Shakib al Hasan and on the very first delivery, Finch backed away showing all his wickets and slapped it to covers. His intention was clear: with depth in their batting line-up, the openers played fearlessly. In the second over, KKR’s best bowler, Narine, was taken for 16 runs by Finch.
In the next over, he continued his assault by scoring 14 runs off the bowling of Shakib. When he fell for a quick 31 of 15 balls in the fourth over, McCullum took charge by smashing three consecutive boundaries of the remaining balls of the over and ensuring that GL did not lose the momentum. In the same over, the Lions reached their fifty, the fastest in their IPL history.
At the end of their power play, GL was cruising at 72 for 1. Even though they lost McCullum in the next over, the required run-rate was no longer threatening.
#3 Holding back Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav was handed the ball for the first time in the 13th over and he immediately produced a wicket but it was too late already. When Umesh came into bowl, GL were scoring at 10 runs per over and the required run rate was well within their reach.
He had been a good performer this season for KKR and it was surprising to see that he was not asked to bowl before, especially when the spinners were taken for runs in the early innings. Gambhir might have probably saved him for the death overs but the plan backfired as he ended up bowling only two overs in the game.
#2 Dropped catches of Raina
Captain Suresh Raina played a match winning knock but he did give KKR a couple of chances to dismiss him. The first big chance came in the 4th over when Narine fired one which spun away from the GL captain, taking an edge. The ball kissed the glove of Uthappa and bounced off. It might not have
been a difficult catch for a specialist keeper but the part-time keeper, Robin Uthappa could not react fast enough.
The second chance came when Yusuf Pathan dropped him in the ninth over. Raina pulled a short ball off Woakes and Yusuf ran to his right from deep fine leg. The ball burst through his stretched out right hand and went all the way for a six. It would have been a spectacular catch had it been taken. After these chances, there was no turning back for Raina.
Towards the middle overs, it looked like a tricky chase but he held the innings together and played a captain’s knock. He ended up with a score of 84 of 46 balls and went past Virat Kohli to become India’s highest run getter in T20s.
#1 Poor bowling of KKR
KKR boasts of a formidable bowling line up and bringing in Shakib al Hasan into the team only made it stronger, but none of the KKR bowlers was at their best. They lacked consistency and were unable to stop the flow of runs throughout. Sunil Narine performed better with the bat than the ball and was taken for 42 runs in his 4 overs.
The other bowlers were not spared as well – Shakib, Woakes and Coulter-Nile were all left with an economy rate of more than 10. Gambhir might have begun with spin against McCullum and Finch but it proved to be quite ineffective.
KKR will have to put this poor result behind and try to continue with their good form and are still second in the points table.