Sunday, May 25, 2008

Goodbye Kolkata Knight Riders

As I watched the Kolkata Knight Riders' thrilling run chase at the Eden Gardens in their last league match against Kings' XI Punjab draw to a favourable end for my home team tonight, two thoughts filled my mind:

1) You can make memorable matches out of brilliant lone hand displays like Ganguly & Gul did in this match, but you need supporting contributions and boring team efforts to do well over a period / tournament. In addition to the captain you need more members to stick out their head and show willingness to last the distance. So often the main batting strikers in this line up - Ganguly himself as well as Hussey - were busy doing the menial job of trying to stabilise the ship because the others in that role were not staying put. This cost the KKR boys a few matches.

Inspite of the win KKR bowed out of the competition today as they could not manage enough wins to get themselves a semis berth. I tried to figure out the differences of Ganguly's 1st IPL series for KKR from Ganguly's admirable Test captaincy career with India. One was obviously that this was only the 1st season and the skipper himself took some time to get accustomed. I am sure the second season will be better. The other difference was the one discussed earlier - not having foundation laying folk in batting and bowling.

Coming to think of it, Ganguly's memorable stint as India's most successful Test captain at home & away could have been a lot like his 1st IPL season of the Knight Riders had there been no indefatigable Rahul Dravid at one end (at a batting average of 80+) while batting and no Kumble to keep up one end all day in the bowling innings (even as a 2nd choice spinner). T20 might be a short game but you still need to have team members to put your life-savings money on. Maybe this year's IPL will help provide enough data bank to identify the requisite potential in some people.

[It is another matter that Rahul himself wrongly chose to have an overdose of such folk in the Bangalore Royal Challengers and ended up with too low a growth rate on his funds!]

2) The home match of KKR versus Chennai Super Kings on 18th May was decided on D/L method after play was washed out after the 8th over. Chennai, 56/0 at that stage, were only 3 runs ahead of the required target at that stage and were hence declared winners. If KKR had won that match they would still have had a chance to make the semis and Chennai would have been ousted. There is no point ruing bygones but I cannot resist extracting that 8th over from cricinfo commentary of that match - essentially because so many of the home team's failings in that over have been typical to India / KKR in overs-limit cricket through an embarassingly long period:

7.1
Agarkar to Patel, 1 run, bangs it in short of a length, he swings and
pulls to the on side
7.2
Agarkar to Fleming, 1 wide, slides wide down the
legside, he attempts to nudge it down fine but misses
7.2
Agarkar to
Fleming, 1 run, slides on the pads, he whips it to the on side for a single
7.3
Agarkar to Patel, no run, bowls the slower one this time and beats
him outside the offstump
7.4
Agarkar to Patel, 1 run, Dropped: Patel
hooks a short delivery and miscues it, the top edge sends the ball sailing in
the air for like ages and Dinda spills a straightforward chance at long leg
7.5
Agarkar to Fleming, FOUR, slides down the leg side,he trickles it off
his pads and the ball races to fine leg
7.6
Agarkar to Fleming, no run,
pitches outside off, he shapes to drive but misses

2 comments:

Sandeepan said...

Given the performance trend of chennai super king, they would have lost that match. Target was 150 and they were only 56. In a number of matches they did not perform too well after a solid start by fleming and patel (eg versus RCB). But then KKR is too lucky to get a point versus Delhi. Given their present form they should have easily beaten KKR. So ifs and buts are always there.

Sourav made some funny decisions - despite gul being in great from, he created the hype on shoaib and demoralised gul. Despite having murali karthik in the role, he played mohammed hafeez as a spinner - who is a failure both in bat and bowl.
There was no point of playing agarkar - instead he could have played an extra batsman. Das and saha were in great form - but sourav dropped them in his sweet will and demoralised them.

KKR would have performed better had they concentrated a bit on cricket rather than creating media hype.

I would not wonder that if someday it is found that the inconcequential match on sunday was fixed. Anyway truths are hard to know.

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