Kolkata’s Spin Trio Bully Bangalore After Shardul Thakur Blitz

By Bharath Ramaraj


Shardul Thakur (68 off 29 balls) and the spin trio of Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine and Suyash Sharma piloted KKR to a morale-boosting 81-run win over RCB in an IPL game played at the iconic Eden Gardens. RCB could muster just 123 in pursuit of 205. Here are the takeaways from the game.

RCB slip up after bright start

On a track that offered a hint of seam movement and grip, David Willey and Michael Bracewell had combined to pick up three scalps within the first seven overs. Willey in particular showed his class by picking up the wickets of Venkatesh Iyer and Mandeep Singh off consecutive deliveries. Just when Rahmanullah Gurbaz seemed to be taking KKR to safer waters, Karn Sharma joined the act by dismissing him. In the same over, he removed the dangerous Andre Russell by inducing the KKR talisman to crack one to long-off. At 89 for 5, RCB held all the aces but they were in for a surprise.

Shardul’s blitz

With KKR in trouble, Shardul put on a wonderful exhibition of power-hitting. He smacked Akash Deep for a couple of fours and a six to lift KKR’s morale. Shardul then danced down the track to loft Bracewell for a couple of sixes. In the 17th over, he reached his maiden IPL 50 with a boundary off Harshal Patel. At the other end, Rinku Singh provided him valuable support, evidenced by the two sixes and a boundary he clubbed off Harshal in the penultimate over. The duo shared a game-breaking alliance of 103.

Where did RCB go wrong?

Slog-overs bowling. In their opening game against Mumbai Indians, RCB had given away as many as 86 runs in the last five overs. Unfortunately, they couldn’t rectify the problem as KKR collected 64 in the last five and 117 from the final 10. Harshal and Mohammed Siraj bowled seven overs in total and gave away 82 runs. The batters seemed to be picking Harshal’s variations quite easily. A tally of 23 extras also proved to be costly.

Du Plessis-Kohli pair burn bright in Power play

Just for a brief period, the experienced pair of Virat Kohli and Faf Du Plessis raised hopes of RCB mounting a challenge. The duo lofted the ball, steered it into gaps, and slogged the occasional one to put some pressure back on KKR. Tim Southee, in particular, came in for some severe punishment in his second over. At 44 for 1, in the 5th over, RCB seemed to be in the game. But they were about to be dismantled by KKR’s spinners.

Narine-Chakravarthy-Suyash show

Kohli has looked tentative against Narine in the past, and has a strike rate of just over 100 against him in the IPL. He tried to play across the line while facing Narine’s off-break and was castled. Chakravarthy followed the by getting one past Du Plessis’ defence, with the RCB skipper inside-edging it onto the stumps. Chakravarthy continued to rattle the timber as he dismissed both Glenn Maxwell and Harshal Patel. With the score reading 61 for 5 after 9 overs, the result of the match seemed more like a foregone conclusion.

Suyash Sharma, the 19-year-old leg-spinner, then ran through the lower middle order. The highlight of Suyash’s spell was the way he sent Dinesh Karthik back to the hut with a tossed-up delivery.

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