Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir insists on talking about the team as a whole and not individuals, but it’s impossible to conceive a team without them. Manoj Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan remain the usual suspects and after the 14th round that heralded KKR's slip from the second position for the first time in weeks, it’s time Gambhir gets introspective and introduces changes if required.
Not everyday would bowling bail them out and, like in the May 5 match against the Pune Warriors, KKR once again squandered a very good start.
Chennai Super Kings are no Pune Warriors. Yellow power flourished just when it was required, barring a slight hiccup caused by Sunil Narine. The results spoke of character and a deep-rooted belief in the team that they can turn it around from any situation.
Losing the edge
But it was KKR who conceded the edge to CSK even before the first half of the match. Gambhir, after a rare failure in the last match, was in an aggressive mood as he took his right leg out of the line of delivery and pulled pretty much everything over midwicket and square leg. With Brendon McCullum chugging along at the other end, all seemed fine as KKR reached 86 for no loss at the halfway mark. But history was repeated, with astonishing precision. Gambhir and McCullum departed within five balls, prompting Tiwary and Pathan’s arrival. They had plenty of balls left to settle down. Tiwary started with an inside out shot over cover for boundary, while Pathan too warmed up with a towering six. But it led to nothing, again.
The slump in run rate was inevitable and had it not been for Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Debabrata Das, KKR would have finished with fewer runs. But KKR's bowling wasn't the best combination.
Eden's track traditionally aids slow bowling yet Gambhir started with Marchant de Lange and Lakshmipathy Balaji who were carted all over the park by CSK openers Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay. Till Narine dealt a double blow, first by inducing an edge off Hussey's bat before castling Vijay with his spin.
Gambhir hurried Narine through his overs in order to check CSK's run rate but again had to fall back on De Lange in the penultimate over where MS Dhoni spanked him for 18 runs before Bravo's last-ball six.
KKR 158 for 6 (G Gambhir 62, B McCullum 37, S Jakati 2/26)
CSK 160 for 5 (M Hussey 56, M Vijay 36, S Narine 2/14)