When a team bowls at a batting line-up that has Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the top four, the idea must be to be as restrictive as possible and give nothing away. On Thursday (April 11), Kolkata Knight Riders conceded eight wides and two no-balls to Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. It was a gift Bangalore didn’t really need, with Gayle blasting his way to 85 not out off 50 balls, but one that certainly came in handy in crossing the victory target with 15 balls to spare.
“That was the plan (to bowl away from the batsmen) but it didn’t work,” rued Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata captain, after the defeat, but then said, “Look, Chris took the game away from us. I think the pacers and every other bowler gave his best. As you all know, in this ground, it’s a little tough to defend. I think we gave our 100%, which was more important. And I don’t want to mention one or two names. All of them gave 100% and that’s most important for me as a captain.”
Prior to the match, Gambhir had said that he wasn’t going to waste time worrying about individuals in the opposition – Gayle in this case – and that his plans were for the entire opposition. Despite the loss, and despite Gayle playing the lead role in the loss, Gambhir stuck to his stance, though he admitted that his bowlers had no answer to Gayle.
“We will have certain plans and we just need to stick to those plans. If Plan A doesn’t work then Plan B will work. But sometimes none of your plans works because Gayle is a quality player. I think all the bowlers did a good job at the start. The plan was to bowl in the good areas but later I think Gayle took the game away from us,” said Gambhir.
Gambhir didn’t point fingers at anyone when it came to the Kolkata batting effort, which looked good for a total around 170 at one stage but ended at 154 for 8. When Gambhir was dismissed off the second ball of the 17th over, Kolkata were 124 for 4, but Kolkata could only add a further 30 runs for the loss of four more wickets in the final 22 balls.
Gambhir, however, said he wasn’t too worried. “There are still plenty of games to go and we were in the same position last year as well. Lots of games are at home, including the next one, and hopefully we can turn it around we did last time,” he said. “If we want defend the title, we have to do well in all the departments. I can’t just say batting or bowling. We have the talent in the dressing room.”