KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal's third 100+ runs partnership in the Indian T20 League went in vain as Punjab gave the win away to Kolkata despite dominating the most part of the game.
Kolkata, after having won the toss and elected to bat, struggled to get going in the early stage of the game and were only able to put 164/6 in 20 overs. If not for their captain Dinesh Karthik, the two-time Indian T20 League champions would have been bundled out for much less. Punjab, on the contrary, made a thumping start and knew playing it cool would guide them to their second win of the tournament.
Sunil Narine, however, spoiled the party late in the game. Brought into the attack in the 18th over, the Caribbean all-rounder gave away a mere two runs for a wicket - a point that turned the game on its head. A game that was bound to go to Punjab's was snatched by Narine right at the death, as Kolkata won the game by two runs.
Having said that, here are key talking points from the match:
Slow start from Kolkata
Kolkata lost two wickets inside four overs, and that certainly wasn’t the only issue they had. By the end of the Powerplay overs (six overs), they had posted a mere 25/2 despite having two hard-hitting batsmen in Shubman Gill and Eoin Morgan on the crease. And that total is now the second-lowest Powerplay score in the ongoing edition of the Indian T20 League, with Delhi’s 23/3 still topping the chart.
|Match#||Match||Date||Venue||Innings||Bat Team||Bowl Team||Runs||Wkts|
|2||Delhi vs Punjab||20-Sep-20||Dubai (DSC)||1st||Delhi||Punjab||23||3|
|24||Punjab vs Kolkata||10-Oct-20||Abu Dhabi||1st||Kolkata||Punjab||25||2|
|20||Mumbai vs Rajasthan||06-Oct-20||Abu Dhabi||2nd||Rajasthan||Mumbai||31||3|
|5||Kolkata vs Mumbai||23-Sep-20||Abu Dhabi||2nd||Kolkata||Mumbai||33||2|
|7||Chennai vs Delhi||25-Sep-20||Dubai (DSC)||2nd||Chennai||Delhi||34||2|
|11||Delhi vs Hyderabad||29-Sep-20||Abu Dhabi||2nd||Delhi||Hyderabad||34||1|
Table: Lowest Powerplay scores in Indian T20 League 2020.
The run-rate didn’t really improve until the 13th over when Kolkata were 75/3, scoring at a rate of 5.76. All that, however, changed as captain Dinesh Karthik took charge.
DK to the rescue
Cometh the hour cometh the man. Just when Kolkata needed someone to step up, Dinesh Karthik came in and played a much-needed captain's innings, scoring a quickfire 29-ball 58, which included eight fours and two maximums. Hitting at a strike-rate of 200, the Kolkata captain scored his first half-century of the ongoing edition (19th overall), and fourth against Punjab - the most he has scored against any other team. He played an important 82-run stand with Shubman Gill, who himself scored a half-century, to steady Kolkata's ship in the second half of the innings.
A whopping 77% of his runs came through boundaries, and a further bifurcation explains that he scored most of his runs at the mid-wicket (11) and covers (10). Regardless of the result, this half-century might uplift DK's confidence after failing to do the talking in any of his last five games. The highest he had scored before the game was a 23-ball 30 against Mumbai. He then went on to register scores of 0 against Hyderabad, 1 against Rajasthan, 6 against Delhi and 12 against Chennai. On Saturday, at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the Kolkata captain was accountable for 35.37% of his team's total with a knock that helped Karthik complete 1000 runs as a captain.
Kolkata lack genuine wicket-takers
Make no mistake, Kolkata's ability to restrict their opponents is an act of class, but picking wickets is a different ball-game altogether. The faith this team has shown in the likes of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi is exemplary, to say the least, but the fact remains that the team lacks a genuine wicket-taker. Pat Cummins was bought amidst massive fanfare and with a hefty price of INR 15.5 crore with a hope of bringing in much-needed stability, but the Australian has leaked runs at an economy of 8.36 while picking just a couple of wickets in six games.
Varun Chakravarthy, with five wickets, remains Kolkata's highest wicket-taker in the tournament, which represents a significant dearth of having a bowling specialist who can pick wickets in tight situations. Sure, Narine can deliver on his day, but Kolkata just cannot rely on him in every match
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @IndianT20League