Kolkata, April 24 (IANS) Kolkata Knight Riders’ bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji had said on the eve of their Indian Premier League (IPL) tie against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) that it is all about taking wickets in the Twenty20 format and his wards have the arsenal to do that. At the Eden Gardens on Sunday, the men in purple more than did just that.
Having to defend a paltry 132-run target after being asked to bat first by visiting skipper Virat Kohli, KKR pacers Nathan Coulter-Nile and Umesh Yadav were at it from the word go with fiery opening spells.
Coulter-Nile was the wrecker-in-chief, returning first spell figures of 21/3 from three overs while Yadav (3-0-15-1) leaked little to together destroy the famed RCB batting line-up comprising Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers.
Coulter-Nile sent both Kohli and De Villiers back to the hut early, and whatever hopes RCB had rested on Gayle.
The destructive West Indies southpaw was removed by England pacer Chris Woakes. Woakes would later scalp two more wickets in the form of Stuart Binny and Samuel Badree.
Just when questions were being raised about the KKR bowlers and whether they are struggling this season after performing well in previous editions when they used to be the team’s strength, they produced a magical show on Sunday night to dispel all doubts.
RCB were skittled out for IPL’s lowest ever total of 49.
“Sometimes you have to just doff your hat to some good bowling,” Woakes told reporters after the 82-run win.
“We obviously did not bat very well but they also did not bat well. At the same time we bowled well.
“Obviously we were little bit down halfway. We knew we were a little bit under par to say the least. But the captain asked us to show some intent and some pride. The opening bowlers set the tone for us,” the 28-year old added.
“The fact is that they came out firing, took some early wickets and really got us back in the game. From there on it was just trying to put the ball in right areas.”
Woakes said that top of off-stump length was perfect.
“That back of the length, maybe top of the stump’s length was just perfect on the pitch today. 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 it more times or not it puts the batsmen under pressure especially when wickets are falling around. But the wicket was nice to bowl on. But at Eden Gardens if you are off the area, you get punished because the outfield is quick,” he said.
“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.”
KKR will now take on Rising Pune Supergiant on Wednesday, brimming with the confidence they always had in their bowling department.
“I think we can turn the screw and win the game and make history. Not often you defend 130 particularly here at Eden Gardens,” Woakes said about their belief last night.
“I think I would be lying to say that we came at the half time saying that we would definitely win the game. There’s always a small part if you take early wickets, particularly with their batting line-up if you take the three big guys early you got a chance,” he added resonating an air which will hold the twice IPL champions in good stead as they chase a third crown.