RCB make it 3 in 3 with a clinical victory against KKR
If the first two games were an indication of the team’s ability to pull off close games, the win against KKR will be even more pleasing for Royal Challengers Bangalore given its clinical nature. With a thorough performance, RCB capped off the Chennai leg of IPL 2021 with a clean sweep.
200+ in Chennai? That would’ve seemed a distant dream before today’s game. That thought would’ve been reinforced with two wickets going down in the second over of the game, Varun Chakravarthy dealing the twin blows on RCB including the massive wicket of Captain Kohli. Maxwell has been in scintillating form, but for lightning to strike thrice? Surely not.
But, the Aussie had different ideas. Counterattack has always been the Aussie way, and Maxwell’s approach was a throwback to the great Aussie sides of the 2000s. Spinners were smashed out of the attack, alleviating pressure off Devdutt Padikkal. What once looked like a below-par powerplay suddenly became respectable.
The lifting of fielding restrictions had no effect, as the Big Show pulled out all the tricks in his book to put off the KKR bowlers. Boundaries flowed like water, and what once looked like a 150 track kept appearing more and more batting-friendly. Or it was just Maxwell’s genius.
If Maxwell’s assault had taken the KKR bowlers’ breath away, they still had to AB de Villiers to deal with. Coming in to bat at the fall of Devdutt’s wicket in the 12th over, AB looked busy from the get-go. Within a blink of an eye, he had raced to 10 off 6 without hitting a single boundary or taking undue risks. By the time the last 5 overs came around, AB had his eye in. Like only he could, AB carried the RCB innings to 204/4 - 70 off those coming in the last 5, 55 of the 70 off AB’s bat. Did someone say 200 in Chennai?
KKR’s batsmen have been aggressive at the top, and with 200+ to chase, got the team off to a flyer, Shubman Gill taking a liking to Kyle Jamieson. It took a ridiculous diving catch to his right by Dan Christian (did someone call him old?) subbing for Maxwell to see his back. Through Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi, KKR kept up with the required rate in the powerplay, but Tripathi falling off the last ball of the powerplay snuffed out considerable air out of their sails. An over later, Rana fell to give Yuzvendra Chahal his first wicket of the season.
While Shakib Al Hasan and Eoin Morgan tried to keep the Knights afloat, the required rate kept climbing. Despite threatening a blitzkrieg late in the twilight of the game, even Andre Russell could not salvage the game for the men in purple. Magnificent performances yet again by Harshal Patel who is soon becoming the go-to man in the back end of the innings for Captain Kohli, and a 1-run (yes, you read that right) 19th over by Siraj against Andre Russell wrapped the game for RCB, as the men in Red and Gold made it 3 in 3 with a 38-run win.
Both the orange and the purple caps - Maxwell and Harshal respectively - now belonging in the RCB camp is an indication of the team’s dominance in the early stages of the 2021 season. Bring on Mumbai!