Brief Scores: RCB 204/4 (Glenn Maxwell 78, AB De Villiers 76*, Varun Chakravarthy 2/39) beat KKR 166/8 (Rahul Tripathi 29, Andre Russell 31, Jamieson 3/41)
Royal Challengers Bangalore have done nothing wrong thus far in the Vivo IPL 2021. Another all-around performance has helped RCB beat KKR by a margin of 38 runs on Sunday. With this victory, they have now registered three wins in as many games in the tournament.
On a pitch where all the sides felt uncomfortable while batting, Royal Challengers Bangalore put on a mammoth 204-run total on the board. The pressure of chasing such a big total on a sluggish wicket was always going to be tough for Kolkata Knight Riders. In a bid to keep up with the required rate, KKR lost wickets at regular intervals and managed 166 runs in the end.
Here’s a look at all the three major talking points of the game:
Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers set up RCB’s win with valuable knocks
Glenn Maxwell has finally found a franchise in IPL where he can unleash himself and show why he is regarded as one of the best in the shortest format. The Australian cricketer has only played three games so far and has already hit 8 more sixes than the previous edition. Against KKR on Sunday, he continued his rich vein of form and scored a valuable 78 off 49 balls.
RCB didn’t start the innings on a good note. Varun Chakravarthy had accounted for the wickets of Virat Kohli and Rajat Patidar in the second over to leave RCB in all sorts of trouble at 9 for 2 after 2 overs. Knowing that it’s important for teams to score at a face pace in the powerplay overs at Chepauk, Maxwell didn’t take much time to get going.
He played both the spinners and fast bowlers with ease and looked pleasant during his 49-ball 78, including 9 fours and 3 sixes. It was also good to see the Australian not taking on Varun Chakravarthy, who was bowling brilliantly during the first half of the innings. He stitched a valuable 54-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Ab de Villiers to set the foundation for a big total.
Once Maxwell departed in the 17th over, AB de Villiers took the matter into his own hands and scored 44 runs in the last three overs, including 20 off Andre Russell in the last over. Given the pitch gets vulnerable in the latter half of the innings to bat, it was one incredible knock from De Villiers.
Wickets at regular intervals didn’t help KKR’s cause
In pursuit of 204, Kolkata started on a good note. Shubman Gill (25 off 9), took the attacking route and hit some lusty blows before he was caught by Daniel Christian at mid-on.
Rahul Tripathi (18 off 11) and Nitish Rana (21 off 9) too gave away their wickets after a promising start. However, the biggest worry for KKR right now is their middle-order. The likes of Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan yet again failed to contribute.
Questions should be raised on Shakib Al Hasan’s role in the side. The Bangladesh all-rounder has been effective neither with his batting nor bowling. Kolkata Knight Riders desperately need a solid batsman in the middle-order and Shakib Al Hasan is, definitely, not the answer. Or move him at no. 3 and let him play the innings builder role which he has done very well for Bangaldesh over the years.
RCB- ‘No more a weak bowling unit'
The inclusion of Harshal Patel and Kyle Jamieson has worked wonders for RCB thus far in the tournament. Also, Mohammad Siraj hasn’t been the same bowler he was last year. After performing for India in the Border-Gavaskar series, Siraj hasn’t looked a different bowler all together and skipper Virat Kohli himself admitted that in the post-match ceremony. The trio did well to restrict KKR.
With two experienced spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sunder, Royal Challengers Bangalore is no more a weak bowling unit.
Questions To Be Answered?
Is Shakib an ideal bet for Kolkata Knight Riders in the all-round department:
In the three games he has played so far, Shakib Al-Hasan hasn’t really fired in the tournament so far. With the middle-order struggling, is it ideal for KKR to continue with Shakib or should he be replaced with Sunil Narine or Ben Cutting?
What Lies Ahead For Both Teams?
The Royal Challengers Bangalore would be the happiest side amongst all right now. With
three wins in three games, RCB would look to hold on to the winning momentum and replicate similar performances ahead.
KKR players need to find form sooner than later as two more losses from here could take them in real trouble.