Now that’s the beauty of the Indian Premier League (IPL), apart from being the most cash rich league in the world, the quality of cricket played here is unmatched and unraveling. To decide the top 4 teams of the tournament, all the 54 league matches were required. That’s how closely the games were fought. Nothing was different in the 1st qualifier played yesterday between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), the match went down to the wire.
RCB won the toss and elected to bat first. Both the RCB openers Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli started on a positive note scoring 49 runs in the first 5 overs, scoring nearly at 10 runs an over. Everything seemed going RCB’s way until the first ball of the 6th over by Ferguson which saw the back of Padikkal. Thereafter KKR crawled back into the game by picking wickets at regular intervals.
RCB slipped from 49/0 at the end of 5 overs and with still an over of powerplay left to 113/5 by the end of 17th over. They just managed to score 64 runs in next 12 overs losing their top 5 batsmen. With the contributions from their lower order RCB ended their innings at 138/7 in their quota of 20 overs. KKR staged an amazing comeback on the back of their spinners’ performance, Narine in particular. He picked up 4 of the top 5 batsmen which broke RCB’s back as well as their chances of making it to the final.
In response KKR started strongly with Gill and Iyer putting an opening partnership of 41 runs for the loss of 1 wicket in 5.2 overs. In the next 5.4 overs KKR lost Tripathi and Iyer for 38 runs. RCB started making inroads and looked as if they were back into the match but then in the 12th over of their innings from Dan Christian, Narine smacked 3 sixes to bring down the required run rate under control and swung the moment back to KKR’s way.
Siraj struck twice for RCB in the 18th over by removing the dangerously looking Narine for 26(15) and Karthik for 10 runs but it was already too late in the innings as KKR needed just 12 runs of the last two overs with Morgan and Shakib at the crease and with 4 wickets in hand. Both these batsmen ensured KKR went over the line with 2 balls to spare and ended RCB’s campaign for this season.
Sadly this marks the end of the ‘Captain Kohli’ era in IPL as this was his last as the captain for the RCB, as the saying goes “All good things must come to an end.” For all those RCB’s and Virat’s fans out there, they will get to watch him play for his franchise as a player who only knows to give nothing less than his best.