The Knights were swift in putting to rest the nightmare. After all the opening setback against Chennai Super Kings on Friday wasn’t just fresh in the memory, it was also bringing back many unpleasant memories. On Monday, the Kolkata Knight Riders were men possessed, shining in their armour.
Almost everything from the toss onwards rolled in Gautam Gambhir’s favour. After electing to bat, the captain got a solid start from his openers, got one of them to anchor the innings and found many cameos around Jacques Kallis’s second successive half-century to reach a challenging total.
The other part of the job required cool execution of plans through tight bowling and fielding. The bowling veered between the good and the ordinary, so did the fielding; and in the end, the weight of runs proved too much for the Deccan Chargers, who slipped to their second defeat on the trot.
After suffering chiefly because of batting in three painful years, the Knights have done some sensible buying in this department this time.
They were given another good start by Kallis and fellow opener Manvinder Bisla. The polished South African and the industrious wicketkeeper-batsman from Himachal Pradesh have combined well in both games so far.They made good use of the fielding restrictions in the first six overs, hitting 46 with eight fours between them. The Chargers, in contrast, made 30 for two during that period when they batted with just four hits to the fence.
The Knights made this advantage count and built on it with their mixed bag of bowlers to carve out a win team owner Shah Rukh Khan was craving for from the balcony of his special box.
If the Knights’ batting was built around the rock called Kallis, their bowling was a team effort. Opening proceedings for the second time, Iqbal Abdullah did a smart job.
The left-armer didn’t extract as much spin as the visiting slow bowlers did, but kept things tight by not offering width.
These virtues are useful in any form of the game. Unlike Deccan Chargers, the Knights don’t have big names in bowling at the moment. So they have to make up for the lack of sting by making things difficult for the batsmen by mixing it up.
The variations provided by left and right-arm pace and spin to go with some safe catching in the deep when it mattered made it the Knights’ night. Sterner tests lie ahead, but Gambhir’s team will take heart that they look good for them.