In a T20 game, anything can happen, but what happens in the first six overs of either innings can often make a big impact on the game. After winning their first match despite being outplayed in these two periods, Kolkata Knight Riders dominated the six-over phases in such a manner that Sunday’s game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore became predictable in the days of unpredictability.
It was a combination of tight bowling, some attempts to hit the ball far, astute field placements and some sharp ground fielding that pushed RCB on the back foot in the period when just two fielders were allowed outside the circle.
Sourav Ganguly juggled these two men in positions as various as deep third-man, deep fine-leg, long-on, deep square-leg and sweeper cover to restrict the number of boundaries to just four in this period. Consequently, RCB had a meagre 24 for three at this point.
Some daring strokeplay by Manoj Tiwary and Brad Hodge ensured it was just the opposite when the Knight Riders started their chase of the lowest total of IPL III so far. Boundaries came in torrents from both ends as the two raced to 61 for no loss after six. The impact of the hammering was too much for Royal Challengers.
In between these two phases, the Challengers’ innings was a failed attempt to get someone to spend time in the middle with Jacques Kallis. One reason why the rest failed was the way Murali Kartik and Angelo Mathews bowled. Both were miserly in line and there were few short balls. They shared six wickets conceding just 41 runs in their eight overs.
The murderous assault by Hodge and Tiwary made sure that the hosts did not let go of their advantage. For those packing the stands and for Shah Rukh Khan, it was a great evening to shake to Korbo Lorbo Jitbo Re.