IPL: Virat Kohli fumes in a sultry Eden; Knights hold their nerves in thriller

A 55,000-strong crowd braves a sizzling day as RCB choke at the last lap

Photo courtesy: @IPL
Photo courtesy: @IPL

Gautam Bhattacharyya

‘Temperature: 40 degrees centigrade, feels like 44,’ an online search said about the weather when the rival captains went out to toss at the highly billed Kolkata Knight Riders-Royal Challengers Bengaluru match at the Eden on Sunday.

For the second week in a row, the ongoing heat wave in the city made it quite an ordeal for the players and the 55,000-odd fans who braved the conditions.

This time around, what lured them was as much an opportunity to see the Knights maintain the momentum which they had built earlier in the season as it was to watch Virat Kohli in action.

While the hosts returned to their winning ways with a fifth win in seven games in a last-ball thriller by one run, the master batter looked extremely disappointed at his soft dismissal after being caught and bowled off a full toss by Harshit Rana.

Like M.S.Dhoni, Kohli enjoys a special place in the hearts of KKR fans – and a clear reflection of that was in the sizeable number of RCB shirts making their way to the historic venue.

Once again, a lot rested on the shoulders of Orange Cap holder Kohli as they were chasing 223 on a wicket where strokeplay was not always easy. He picked up a profligate Mitchell Starc for a six over mid wicket and looked well poised for a big score till the dismissal came in a strange manner.

The crowds at Eden Gardens on Sunday
The crowds at Eden Gardens on Sunday

A fuming Kohli contended that the delivery deserved to be treated as a no-ball because of the height as he sought a review, but the fourth umpire ruled it ‘fair’ as he was standing outside the crease and the ball was apparently dipping into him.

Faf followed soon after but rookie Englishman Will Jacks and Rajat Patidar gave the hosts some real scare with an audacious 102-run stand for the third wicket off 48 balls while leg spinner Karn Sharma struck three lusty blows off Mitchell Starc in the last over – but the Challengers just fell short.

In hindsight, Du Plessis’ decision of sending the Knights in a day game, given the kind of blazing starts they were being given by their openers was clearly a defensive one. Not having enough faith on their bowlers, the Challengers must have fancied their chances more in chasing but a 200-plus target always seemed to be a bridge too far for them.

It was Phil Salt’s day earlier as the English opener’s 48 off 14 balls, which reflected an obscene strike rate of 342.86, which set the tone for the Purple Army. There was a mid-innings skid alright but skipper Shreyas Iyer anchored the innings well at number five as he piloted his team past the 200-mark with a controlled 50 off 36 balls.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines