Players who contributed with the bat have been named Man of the Match in the five matches the Kolkata Knight Riders have won so far. Unfortunately, that means the role played by the bowlers in those wins has largely gone unnoticed. The only standout individual performance was from Angelo Mathews, who got 4/19 against the RCB. Otherwise, it's been a tale of working in cohesion.
The Kings XI Punjab overhauling 200 with 10 balls and eight wickets to spare is a glaring blotch, which changes statistics dramatically, but the figures are impressive if that game is taken out of the equation. In four of the five wins, the bowlers defended totals ranging from 161 to 183, which are not safe T20 targets in Indian conditions.
Barring against the Kings XI and the Daredevils away — where KKR brought the opposition back through a lot of loose balls after starting well — they have lost because of the failure of their batsmen.
Wednesday's win against the Daredevils was achieved without Ishant Sharma (bought for $950,000 or nearly Rs 4.22 crore per year) and Shane Bond ($750,000 or Rs 3.33 crore per year), two of the most expensive recruits. That though doesn't mean they didn't contribute in the previous wins.
The total bowling team is basically a mixed bag of genuine pace, slower new-ball bowlers, an all-rounder's medium-pace and left-arm spin.
How the bowlers are used is important and Sourav Ganguly has kept changing things. Ganguly has tried to make things unpredictable for batsmen. There is a problem too. Ganguly has used 16 bowlers so far (including part-timers) and this means, as far as surprises go, there aren’t many left. It’s a batsman’s game, but how the bowlers do will play a crucial role in shaping the destiny of the Knights in the home stretch.