Si-Raj Rules as KKR Crumble, What’s in Store for the Knights?
23rd April 2017
KKR wrecked RCB at the Eden Gardens as the Challengers posted the lowest IPL score ever, 49. The Knight Riders won that game by 82 runs and brought upon eternal shame to RCB.
21st October 2020
Almost 42 months since that unforgettable day, it was the forgotten man who made KKR payback. Mohammad Siraj often claimed to be the weak link of RCB’s bowling, bowled two consecutive maidens, the first time that has happened ever in IPL history as he reduced KKR to its knees. After winning the toss and choosing to bat (Seriously, do captains and coaches even think about this? There is no rule that you have to bat if you win the toss, this is not street cricket) KKR was reeling at 3-3. The condition worsened for the Knights as there was no sign of recovery and there isn’t much to write about what happened. KKR posted the lowest score of this IPL which RCB chased in 12 overs without any hiccups. End of story.
What is wrong with KKR?
If you consider the 5 wins KKR has registered, two of those were gifted by the opposition (CSK and KXIP) and one was due to sheer individual brilliance (Lockie Ferguson vs SRH). Only two of their 5 wins have come from all-round team performance. That being said, KKR, since the last year, have been over-dependent on Andre Russell, whose fitness and lack of form has hurt them badly this year. Apart from Shubman Gill, all other batsmen have come a cropper, while their bowling has been on par and cannot take much blame.
The root cause of this issue is the nonsensical idea of a floating middle order and not assigning proper roles to the correct players (players, who in their correct roles are world-beaters). This is not good signs at the business end of the tournament and KKR may need some special individual performances to take them to the Playoffs because as a team, they haven’t clicked for over two years.
Brining in Sunil Narine might paper over cracks but is not a permanent solution. The permanent solution is for at least 3 of their top 6 batsmen to hit form, and most importantly right away.
RCB Bowling to the fore
As for RCB, they have finally made peace with bowling. Saini and Morris have offered pace and discipline, Udana being the handy medium pace bowler. Chahal and Washington have cranked spin bowling up a notch, and their weak link has risen to the occasion, metaphorically ticking all the boxes for RCB.