It was an eventful double header day in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 on Saturday (October 10). The first match of the day saw Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) snatch a win from the jaws of defeat against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). The second match saw Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) register a comfortable win against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Victories for KKR and RCB solidified their spots in the Top 4, whereas the losses for CSK and KXIP saw them continue their recent downturn in form. (IPL 2020 FULL COVERAGE|IPL 2020 SCHEDULE|IPL 2020 POINTS TABLE)
Here are the major talking points from the two matches.
KXIP’s Inability to Close Games Continues
The fact that skipper KL Rahul himself admitted he had no answers after his side slumped to a fifth straight win said it all. They needed 29 runs off 24 balls with 9 wickets in hand; when the second timeout was taken at the end of the 16th over, KKR looked done and dusted for the day. Yet they contrived to pull off what was the unlikeliest of wins. And this despite not having Andre Russell - who had injured his knee while fielding - to call upon.
KXIP’s biggest issue this season has been the bowling attack not doing enough. This wasn’t the case here as the bowlers did well to restrict KKR to 164-6. Mayank Agarwal and Rahul then got them off to a flier, and Nicholas Pooran came in to bat after the former’s dismissal and built on that foundation well. For all the credit KKR deserve having won this, this was almost a case of KXIP losing the match on their own.
Scrappy KKR Need Consistency - Soon
For the second straight game on the trot, KKR pulled the rabit out of the hat. They looked down and out against CSK in their previous encounter too before some exellent death bowling from Sunil Narine and the aforementioned Russell saw them pull off the win. However, Dinesh Karthik and co. will be mindful of the need to put more consistent performances together in the coming games.
Winning matches while not playing your best is often seen as a trait of a team that possesses a winning mentality. However, the best teams also know how to close games out more often than not. KKR have the tools to do just that; they simply need to figure out how to use them on a consistent basis.
CSK May Feel Tempted to Ring in Changes
Another tame defeat for CSK and another instance where skipper MS Dhoni was left fuming at the performance of his team. The captain’s comments about the team ship having ‘too many holes’ was a fair reflection of their plight, with the issues in their overall game plan seemingly never ending.
Dhoni has so far stuck to the core of the side that brought them success in recent years. However, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world if they make a few changes to the side. Dhoni had hinted at the batsmen needing to be more fearless; who better to play that way than a couple of hungry youngsters currently warming the bench?
Kohli’s Continued Excellent Form Welcome Bonus for RCB
Virat Kohli has proven time and again that he can single-handedly win games for his side on a consistent basis. However, the RCB skipper started the tournament slowly with scores of 14, 1 and 3 in their first 3 matches. Now, however, he has rediscovered his form and one would argue it has come at just the right time.
RCB have won 4 games out of their 6 and with the business end of the tournament looming, all teams would need their best players firing on all cylinders. RCB have been in decent form this season and currently sit fourth in the table but Kohli being among the runs again will boost their morale and also make them a more dangerous side.