IPL 2022: Royal Challengers make heavy weather

Cricket

RCB huff and puff to modest target after their bowlers make short work of KKR.

Shared News: March 31, 2022 7:14:09 am
Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 3 wickets at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on the 30th March 2022. (Photo by Rahul Gulati / Sportzpics for IPL)

Wanindu Hasaranga, Akash Deep and Harshal Patel blew away Kolkata Knight Riders for 128 and despite the early dismissals of captain Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli, Royal Challengers Bangalore staggered home in the last over for a three-wicket win.

Powerplay problems

An issue with IPL games starting half an hour earlier, at 7.30pm – as MS Dhoni had pointed out before – is that it often gives the batting side the most difficult conditions of the match until dew begins to appear. The Powerplay gets impacted the most. RCB experienced that in their opening game at DY Patil Stadium; they managed 41 for no loss but Punjab Kings raced to 63 for no loss later. On Wednesday, KKR perhaps tried to negate the disadvantage of losing the toss by going harder at the start. But they managed just 44 and also lost three wickets.

All three succumbed to shortish deliveries as RCB dug it regularly into what du Plessis had called a “tacky” surface. Venkatesh Iyer, in particular, had a troubled stay. He was kept quiet by David Willey’s late swing and a silly mid-off, beaten by Mohammed Siraj’s seam movement, and surprised enough to fend a bouncer from Akash Deep and exit. Ajinkya Rahane tried swinging Siraj over the shorter boundary but found the man at deep square leg. Nitish Rana, familiarly again, fell to a short ball, from Deep.

Wanindu’s wrist wrecks

KKR coach Brendon McCullum likes to remain aggressive regardless of the situation, so did former KKR captain Eoin Morgan, and that is what current skipper Shreyas Iyer tried. He drove the first delivery he faced past cover for four. In Hasaranga’s first over, also the first after the powerplay, Shreyas decided to impose himself early on the leg-spinner. The ball was too full for him to get cleanly under it, but he still went through with his favoured hit over long-on, and failed to clear the fielder.

Hasaranga has to have the pressure of his nearly Rs 11 crore auction price. But this ground has shown some purchase for wrist-spinners; Rahul Chahar had a good outing on Sunday. And after a decent showing considering he was bowling with the dew against Punjab, Hasaranga ripped through KKR with 4 for 20.

And true to their style, KKR kept going for their shots. Sunil Narine, promoted to No. 5, sliced a wrong ‘un to point, and Sheldon Jackson was bowled through the gate first ball trying a drive.

Harshal sees off Russell

The only threat remaining for RCB was Andre Russell. He’d already slogged Hasaranga deep into one of the exits in the stands. When he did the same to the left-arm spin of Shahbaz Ahmed, RCB showed the first signs of worry. They added a deep fielder on the off and sacrificed one on the leg, forcing Ahmed to bowl wider. Russell almost bashed him for four more, but the sweeper cut it off. Du Plessis swapped the deep fielders again now. Russell calmly lofted the next delivery out of everyone’s reach, way over wide long-off. Shahbaz’s over went for 16, but Harshal had begun with a wicket-maiden at the other end.

He proceeded to bowl four successive dots to Russell; when the big all-rounder tried to dab the ball, there was short third man blocking his path. When he tried to make room and slash to vacant deep point, Harshal followed him, disallowing any room. Russell prefers the bent-knee slice to the cut, but Harshal wasn’t affording him that length either. A frustrated Russell swung hard at another one dug into the pitch; it never came on and a thick edge flew to the ’keeper. The match was all but over at 99 for 8, but RCB would make it interesting with some abysmal batting of their own.