Summer of '49'
Shell-shocked! That by and large would describe how one would have felt after Sunday’s IPL match between KKR and RCB at the Eden. More than KKR engineering RCB’s spectacular collapse, it was brain fade for Virat Kohli and Co.
Falling short of words in explaining the stunning batting collapse his side suffered, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli could only say that it was reckless and unacceptable batting.
RCB were all out for 49, the lowest ever total recorded in IPL, and lost the match by a comprehensive 82-run margin while chasing 132.
"This our worst batting performance, it really hurts.
"After the kind of half that we had, we thought we could capitalise and chase it down. It was reckless batting. I can't say anything at the moment. It was that bad. This is just not acceptable," a visibly upset Kohli said after the match.
Kohli himself was guilty of playing an irresponsible shot as he chased a widish delivery only to offer a catch to a slip fielder.
"The sight-screen is very small here, one guy got up as the bowler was loading up, that distracted me. Still it wasn't a big deal. That was just one down. Nine guys could have done the job," Kohli said when quizzed about his dismissal.
The India captain said his side had "nothing to review anything about the second half" of the match.
"We need to forget it and move forward. We are a much better team. We got 200 plus in the last game. I'm sure everyone realises what they've done wrong. You have to come out, show intent and back yourselves. I'm sure we won't bat like that again in the tournament," he said.
Winning captain Gautam Gambhir was all praise for his fast bowlers.
"It's very refreshing. All credit to the bowling attack, especially Coulter-Nile and Umesh for bowling quick. Not a lot of teams have pace like we have. Got three guys who can bowl over 140. The plan was to hit the deck hard and the plan worked," Gambhir said.
The KKR skipper though was not happy with his team's batting show.
"We didn't bat well at all. After where we were in the first six, we should've got 170. We need to pull up our socks in the batting department. If you want to win the tournament, you need to bring your A game out in all departments," said Gambhir.
He also said that it was a conscious decision to pack the attack with pacers.
"It was moving around, so I thought there was no point in using spin. The bowling department was very professional, I've not seen as impressive an effort from the bowling attack like I did today. The plan to the bowlers was simple ' just use your pace and show to the world what you've got.' A lot of opponents think we're a chasing side. So if we win batting first, it gives us a lot of confidence."
Nathan Coulter-Nile was declared the Player of the Match for a great opening spell.
"I guess you have to come out steaming when you're just defending 130 odd. I just had a feeling we were going to do tonight. I haven't been bowling too much, I was so pumped up.
"I wasn't thinking too much about the no-balls. I thought if I can try to push the batsmen back and then pitch it up and swing, I could get wickets. We've got some world class spinners who didn't even get a ball today. The pitch suited us," the Australian said.
Meanwhile, skipper Gautam Gambhir wanted his bowlers to show "intent and pride" which Chris Woakes feels went a long way in KKR's dismissing RCB for 49 — the lowest ever total in history of Indian Premier League.
"The captain asked us to show some intent and some pride.
The opening bowlers set the tone for us. From there on, it was just trying to put the ball in right areas," the 28-year-old Woakes said after the match.
In an exceptional display of pace bowling up front, Nathan Coulter Nile (3-0-21-3) and Umesh Yadav (3-0-15-1) ripped apart the vaunted RCB top-order in Powerplay, before Woakes (2-0-6-3) and Colin de Grandhomme (1.4-0-4-3) sealed the issue.
Woakes said the strategy was to hit the top of the off- stump.
"Coulter-Nile and Umesh got to swing the ball up front.
"When I came on, it did not swing but a little bit of movement off the length. If you hit the areas, more often than not it puts the batsmen under pressure especially when wickets are falling around," Woakes said.
Woakes termed the Eden Gardens strip as a nice one.
"The wicket was nice to bowl on. At the Eden Gardens, if you are off the area, you get punished because the outfield is quick. It actually is a good batting surface. As we have seen in previous games, 180 is par which is a good T20 score. But we bowled quite well on that pitch," he said.
He admitted that at the break, it wasn't like the team was supremely confident.
"I think I would be lying to say that we came at the half time saying that we would definitely win the game. Not often you defend 130 particularly here at Eden Gardens," Woakes said.
None of RCB's batters could reach a double digit as their respective runs resembled a mobile number — 70189820250 — to succumb to 10th overall lowest in T20s. KKR's defence of 131 (or under) was also only the 10th time in IPL history.
"We speak about their batting line-up, three in particular are world class. We had a high price on their wickets. The fact that we got those three early (Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle), it really made a big difference in us defending the total." Woakes also commended the RCB bowlers for doing a good job.
"Obviously we were little bit down halfway. We were under-par, and thought 160-170 was probably par on that wicket. We obviously did not bat very well but they also did not bat well. At the same time we bowled well. Sometime you have to just doff your hat to some good bowling." Asked if it was anything to do with the wicket, Woakes said: "I am not too sure. We got off to a good start. We were 87 after 10 overs. It proved that it actually was a decent wicket."
"We lost wickets through the middle which in a T20 game is always quite crucial. If we take wickets, it's always hard to get going again," he said. Woakes felt that it was a good toss won by Kohli as the good batting surface at the Eden normally prompts opposition captains to opt for chasing.
Lowest innings totals in IPL history
On Sunday at Eden Gardens, Royal Challengers Bangalore laid claim to an unwanted record after being shot down for a paltry 49 — the lowest innings total in IPL's 10-year history — against KKR. The fast bowling trio of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme picked up three wickets each in a combined effort to defend 131, guiding KKR to 82-run win.
Here we look at the five lowest totals in IPL history:
RCB : 49 vs KKR (Kolkata, 2017)
RR : 58 vs RCB (Cape Town, 2009)
KKR : 67 vs MI (Mumbai, 2008)
RCB : 70 vs RR (Abu Dhabi, 2014)
Kochi Tuskers Kerala : 74 vs Deccan Chargers (Kochi, 2011)