The Knight Riders had a fresh controversy awaiting them when they woke up on Tuesday. Ajay Jadeja, the former India cricketer currently working as a TV pundit, had claimed that an Indian player had been racially abused by one of the support staff of the Knight Riders.
The seriousness and the timing of the allegation should have left the already beleaguered team completely shaken, and in a bad mind frame for the match beginning just few hours later. The Knight Riders, however, put up one of their best performance, suggesting they’ve become immune to the endless controversies that dog them.
It’s an altogether different matter that even their best wasn’t good enough to secure a much-awaited victory. A hurricane 33-ball 81 from Ross Taylor snatched the game from the Riders, which was in their pocket after they put a fighting 173 on the board.
The Knight Riders began in their usual disastrous fashion, losing two wickets for just 21 runs. But David Hussey, who arrived just a few days back, infused some life into the innings. The Australian hasn’t gone through the turmoil that the rest of his teammates have, and it showed in his batting. He came in with an unburdened mind and lifted the sagging spirits in the camp with aggressive strokeplay.
The big total appeared to have lifted the spirits of the fielders and bowlers as well. The fielders held on to catches, and the bowlers, who have rarely had the luxury of defending a big total operated well and had everything in control. But that was only till Taylor walked in and changed the course of the game.
The bowlers, especially Ishant and Agarkar, succumbed to the pressure and bowled some loose deliveries to allow Taylor to explode.
The Kiwi chanced his arm and it came off spectacularly, leaving KKR gasping once more.
Kolkata Knight Riders
B McCullum not out 84 (64b, 10x4, 2x6), S Ganguly c Boucher b Vinay Kumar 4 (6b, 1x4), A Ghosh c Boucher b Vinay Kumar 7 (7b, 1x4), D Hussey b Akhil 43 (27b, 3x4, 2x6), A Mathews c Kohli b Kumble 16 (13b, 2x4), W Saha not out 10 (5b, 1x6)
Extras: (b 5, w 2, nb 2) 9
Total: (4 wickets; 20 overs) 173
Fall of wkts: 1-13, 2-21, 3-91, 4-134
Bowling: Vinay Kumar 4-0-33-2, J Kallis 4-0-40-0 (2nb), J Ryder 4-0-25-0, A Kumble 4-0-28-1, KP Appanna 1-0-10-0, B Akhil 3-0-32-1 (2w)
Royal Challengers Bangalore
J Ryder c Ganguly b Agarkar 22 (20b, 3x4), J Kallis c McCullum b Kartik 32 (34b, 4x4, 1x6), R Uthappa c Mathews b Kartik 7 (9b), R Taylor not out 81 (33b, 7x4, 5x6), R Dravid c & b Mendis 12 (12b, 1x4), M Boucher not out 13 (10b, 1x6)
Extras: (lb 1, w 6, nb 2) 9
Total: (4 wickets; 19.2 overs) 176
Fall of wkts: 1-58, 2-63, 3-74, 4-122
Bowling: I Sharma 4-0-40-0 (1nb, 3w), A Mendis 4-0-21-1 (1nb), A Agarkar 4-0-45-1, A Mathews 2.2-0-31-0 (1w), D Hussey 1-0-10-0, M Kartik 4-0-28-2 (2w)