Virat Kohli dismissal debate spices up one-run win for KKR | Crickit
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Virat Kohli dismissal debate spices up one-run win for KKR

Apr 21, 2024 09:23 PM IST

Karn Sharma hit three sixes in the last over but RCB failed to show the nerve to finish massive chase

It’s not unusual for the best batters to feel they have been wronged. Virat Kohli is no different. Incensed would be an understatement in describing how Kohli stomped off after being given caught and bowled, but not after giving the on field umpires an earful. That he had still not been able to accept the decision was apparent when Kohli was seen in animated debate with the umpires after Royal Challengers Bengaluru had come up short, this time by just one run, in a defeat that almost derailed their IPL campaign.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis (c) speak to the on-field umpires after Virat was given out on a slow full toss by Kolkata Knight Riders' Harshit Rana (ANI)
Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis (c) speak to the on-field umpires after Virat was given out on a slow full toss by Kolkata Knight Riders' Harshit Rana (ANI)

The margin of defeat is bound to hurt, given how RCB were cruising in their chase despite losing Kohli and Faf du Plessis within four overs of chasing Kolkata Knight Riders’ 222. Will Jacks wowed with a 32-ball 55, Rajat Patidar returned to his usual ways with a 23-ball 52 and Dinesh Karthik hit a responsible 18-ball 25, all before Karn Sharma almost took KKR to the cleaners with three sixes off Mitchell Starc to get RCB excruciatingly close to the target. But it shouldn’t have gone that way had Kohli not taken his stance well out of the crease.

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Conventional batters tend to do that, more in Tests to counter swing but also in other formats by way of habit. Replays later showed the ball from Harshit Rana to come at a trajectory of 0.92m when Kohli’s waist was at 1.04m, rendering Rana’s full toss a legal delivery. But in real time, it did not appear so black and white. When the ball came off Rana’s hand, Kohli was already shaping up to go big. The full toss however scuppered those plans as Kohli quickly went into evasive mode before trying to defend. The ball caught the toe end of his bat, lobbing a simple catch to Rana.

For the umpires to not deem it a no-ball before checking with the fourth umpire was a valid call. And equally justified was the decision to weigh the Hawk-Eye trajectory taking into account Kohli’s out-of-crease stance. “Rules are rules,” said RCB captain Faf du Plessis later. “Virat and myself, in that space, thought the ball was higher than his waist. You always find one team happy and the other not so with such decisions.”

This wouldn’t have happened had Kohli stood deep inside his crease like Andre Russell, who got a similar decision reversed in the 14th over when Lockie Ferguson slipped in a high full-toss that was clearly above his waist. But Kohli isn’t Russell.

To pin RCB’s defeat on only one dismissal in a team sport might be an exaggeration but not when that man is Kohli, on 18 off seven balls, and more importantly the only batter equipped to win such high-octane chases.

On 181/6 after the 16 overs, the match was RCB’s to lose. The chase couldn’t have gone sideways, not with the way Karthik was anchoring it deep into the slog overs. Even after he was gone, Sharma bludgeoning the equation from 21 from six balls to three off two meant there could be one winner. But Mitchell Starc redeemed himself by going low and holding on to Sharma’s catch before Phil Salt threw himself full length to run out Ferguson in yet another nerve-wrecking finish for KKR at home.

Four times now KKR have scored more than 200, the latest largely because RCB had to bowl nine extra balls but more reckless was the attempt to hustle Salt with pace. He responded with a 14-ball 48 that propelled KKR to a Powerplay score of 75/3 before Shreyas Iyer’s gritty 36-ball 50 and Ramandeep Singh’s nine-ball 24 gave their innings a much-needed impetus towards the end.

Worrying however must be the way KKR flunked the impact-sub test, with Suyash Sharma getting clobbered for 33 runs in his two overs. Timely was Russell’s intervention though, striking with the first ball of his over, taking Patidar in the same over before removing Karthik, paving the way for a crucial win.

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