Kolkata Knight Riders shattered RCB’s title hopes in the eliminator match at Sharjah International Stadium. The incredible comeback of the Kolkata Knight Riders still continues and now they are one win away from being the finalists of IPL 2021. Kohli, in his last venture as RCB captain, faced another unfortunate exit, just like the previous season, in the eliminator. KKR now go on to face the Delhi Capitals in the 2nd qualifier to earn a spot at the grand finale.
Story of the match
Captain Kohli chose to bat first at Sharjah considering the transformation of pitch condition in the 2nd innings. A good total near 160 was on their mind right from the start. A fine opening stand of 49 from 5 overs established safe grounds for the rest of RCB batsmen. Virat Kohli got control of the match and was smoothly cruising through the overs maintaining a respectable run rate until Sunil Narine blocked their way. The Caribbean mystery spinner regained his stupendous form in previous matches and unleashed it on the RCB batting lineup. Three crucial wickets of Srikar Bharat, Virat Kohli, and AB De Villiers in his three consecutive overs caused reverse flow. In his final over, he hooked the big fish, Glenn Maxwell to complete the carnage. RCB was restricted to 138 in the first innings.
Reverting to RCB’s challenge, KKR got their best pair out in the middle and the Gill-Iyer dyad played their strokes matching the required run rate. RCB’s trusted pace-spin combo, Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal took wickets at regular intervals but each of KKR’s top 4 except Tripathi did their assorted tasks. Eoin Morgan promoted Sunil Narine up the order and it worked perfectly well for the Knight Riders as he hit three sixes in the first three balls he faced, eliminating RCB’s final hopes of winning the contest. In the last over, KKR required 7 runs and Shakib Al Hasan held his conscience clear to scoop one over fine leg and sailed his side to the shore.
Sunil Narine did the trick
The man who made the difference. The adjudged Man of the Match was Sunil Narine with his magical spell of 4 for 21. He bagged the whole backbone of RCB – Kohli, Ab De Villiers, Maxwell, and Bharat. His impact was so huge that it won’t be wrong to state that RCB lost to Narine.
Gill and Iyer are a constant
The KKR opening flourish has become a constant sight this season. There is just no room for the bowlers to break this partnership in the powerplays. Their consistency has been a vital factor for KKR’s second leg resurgence.
Narine with the bat
Well, RCB couldn’t keep this man out of the game with the bat as well. With three massive sixes, he virtually ended the match way before it actually ended. His 15 ball 26 was the quickest knock of the entire match.
Daniel Christian was terrible with the ball
Talking about the three decisive six hit by Sunil Narine, Daniel Christian was the bowler to concede it. In 1.4 overs, the Aussie veteran gave away 29 runs and that too at the most crucial point of the game.
Virender Sharma made a bizarre record
For the first time in IPL history, an umpire’s decision was overturned by DRS three times in a match. Virender Sharma got most of his predictions wrong in the eliminator and Virat Kohli was not very cool about the situation.
Hits and Flops
- Sunil Narine – The architect of RCB’s collapse. Narine’s 4-wicket haul and cameo of 26 from 15 was the decider.
- Lockie Ferguson – The Kiwi pacer also had a great day with the ball. His figures ended with 2 wickets and 30 runs from 4 overs.
- Harshal Patel – Despite the defeat, Harshal hold on to his purple cap and clinched two more wickets to level Dwayne Bravo’s record of most wickets in an IPL season. His wicket tally became 32.
- Yuzvendra Chahal – Chahal was instrumental for RCB and provided the breakthroughs. But it just wasn’t enough for KKR’s batting force.
- Srikar Bharat – The expectations on the wicket-keeper was sky-high after his phenomenal innings in the final league match. He was Narine’s first victim of the game.
- AB De Villiers – Contrasting legs for ABD in IPL 2021. The first leg saw vintage De Villiers but he let his team down in the 2nd leg.
- Daniel Christian – RCB trusted the Aussie all-rounder after seeing his Big Bash performances but Christian couldn’t replicate even half of it in IPL 2021.
Tactical punts and fails
- RCB did not use Shahbaz Ahmed as a bowler in spite of his excellent performances in the previous fixtures.