IPL 11

Kuldeep’s wizardry, Rahane’s dismal run, Stokes and Buttler bid adieu: Talking points from KKR vs RR

The English duo will not be a part of the rest of the tournament as they fly back to be a part of their national team that faces Pakistan.

Rajasthan Royals’s chances of qualifying for the Indian Premier League playoffs were once again on the ropes following Kolkata Knight Riders’s comfortable win by six wickets on Tuesday.

This means that their final group match, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, may well be shootout for a place in the last four with run rate coming into play.

Rajasthan looked like an underperforming team in freefall at the top end of the season. However, Jos Buttler’s pyrotechnics and better displays from their bowlers in recent games have ensured that their chances, just like four other teams in the fray, move to the final day of the round robin games.

Kolkata Knight Riders yet again showed nerves of steel during the chase. After Kuldeep Yadav’s brilliant burst through the heart of the Rajasthan batting order, Chris Lynn and Dinesh Karthik effortlessly worked out the opposition bowlers during the chase. The Kolkata captain, in particular, did his reputation no harm by taking his team over the line yet again, and hitting the winning runs.

Here’s what stood out in the game:

Kuldeep Yadav finally comes to the party

One year can be a lot of time in the world of sport. It was Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla who were the main strike bowlers for their side in the years gone by. A lot has changed since March last year. Kuldeep Yadav earned his first Test cap, dethroned established limited-overs spinners for India, and became the wrecker-in-chief as Virat Kohli and Co rose to the top of the One-day International latter.

The left-arm wrist-spinner was tipped to take centerstage this year following his outstanding run during India’s facile wins in white-ball cricket in South Africa. Kuldeep, though, has been overshadowed by his spin counterparts throughout. Narine continued to be Kolkata’s go-to spinner.

In the last eight games leading up to this encounter, Kuldeep had only four wickets. With his quicker deliveries, he bamboozled Buttler and Rahane. Stuart Binny was out stumped, beaten in the loop and turn. As for Stokes, the 23-year-old went around the wicket and created a caught-and-bowled opportunity that he latched on to. Stokes’s penchant to drive on the up plotted his own downfall there.

“All I have to do is make sure he is turned on [when he comes on to bowl],” skipper Karthik said. “Sometimes he slacks off, bowls a bad ball trying too much so I’m just trying to make him do as well as he can and stay consistent.”

Kuldeep couldn’t have timed his return to form any better.

Ajinkya Rahane’s dismal run

Could Rajasthan have started any better? At the end of the third over, they had raced to 45/0 and were threatening to score as many as Kolkata did against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday. Rahul Tripathi, this time sent to open, and Buttler continuing his golden touch had Kolkata with their backs to the wall.

After Tripathi’s wicket, Rajasthan’s momentum dropped considerably. Even Buttler withdrew into a shell. But yet again, Rahane’s laboured stay proved to be the start of Rajasthan’s woes.

He struggled to get going and was outsmarted by Kuldeep. This has been the story of his tournament so far. After a couple of impressive starts at the start of the season, the Rajasthan skipper’s white-ball cricket nous is once again under the scanner. More so now after losing his place in the shorter formats for India.

There are question marks over his ability to change gears and farm the strike. The middle-overs has seen the worst of him, regularly getting bogged down by spin. Shuttling between the opening slots and the middle-order, Rahane’s 241 runs so far have come at a modest strike rate of 120.74. With Buttler and Stokes on their way out, Rahane has a greater responsibility to keep the scoreboard ticking in his side’s final group game.

Stokes, Buttler returning to England

To pour scorn over Rajasthan’s fortunes, two of their international lynchpins Stokes and Buttler bid goodbye as they return to England duties. Buttler has easily been one of the stars of the season and on Tuesday, came within touching distance of completing a one-of-a-kind sixth consecutive half-century.

Stokes, meanwhile, was a pale shadow of the game-changer he was for Rising Pune Supergiant last season. The New Zealand-born all-rounder ended things well in his last game, finishing with impressive figures of 4-1-15-3, giving his team a fighting chance of defending the low total.

However, Stokes came with a burgeoning reputation and a hefty price tag. His tally of 196 runs at 16.33 and eight wickets at 37.87 clearly shows that he struggled to get going. The same can’t be said about Buttler, who earned an England Test recall on the back of smashing 354 runs at 54.80, which included two unbeaten 90+ scores.

Where do Rajasthan go from here? They have big-hitting South African Heinrich Klaasen in reserve. Big Bash star D’Arcy Short may also make his way back even though he has endured a wretched time so far. Buttler’s starts at the top of the order will be sorely missed.

Pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni have hardly done anything of note so a lot will depend on Rajasthan’s batsmen putting on a show against Bangalore. Over to you, Sanju Samson.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Can a colour encourage creativity and innovation?

The story behind the universally favoured colour - blue.

It was sought after by many artists. It was searched for in the skies and deep oceans. It was the colour blue. Found rarely as a pigment in nature, it was once more precious than gold. It was only after the discovery of a semi-precious rock, lapis lazuli, that Egyptians could extract this rare pigment.

For centuries, lapis lazuli was the only source of Ultramarine, a colour whose name translated to ‘beyond the sea’. The challenges associated with importing the stone made it exclusive to the Egyptian kingdom. The colour became commonly available only after the invention of a synthetic alternative known as ‘French Ultramarine’.

It’s no surprise that this rare colour that inspired artists in the 1900s, is still regarded as the as the colour of innovation in the 21st century. The story of discovery and creation of blue symbolizes attaining the unattainable.

It took scientists decades of trying to create the elusive ‘Blue Rose’. And the fascination with blue didn’t end there. When Sir John Herschel, the famous scientist and astronomer, tried to create copies of his notes; he discovered ‘Cyanotype’ or ‘Blueprints’, an invention that revolutionized architecture. The story of how a rugged, indigo fabric called ‘Denim’ became the choice for workmen in newly formed America and then a fashion sensation, is known to all. In each of these instances of breakthrough and innovation, the colour blue has had a significant influence.

In 2009, the University of British Columbia, conducted tests with 600 participants to see how cognitive performance varies when people see red or blue. While the red groups did better on recall and attention to detail, blue groups did better on tests requiring invention and imagination. The study proved that the colour blue boosts our ability to think creatively; reaffirming the notion that blue is the colour of innovation.

When we talk about innovation and exclusivity, the brand that takes us by surprise is NEXA. Since its inception, the brand has left no stone unturned to create excusive experiences for its audience. In the search for a colour that represents its spirit of innovation and communicates its determination to constantly evolve, NEXA created its own signature blue: NEXA Blue. The creation of a signature color was an endeavor to bring something exclusive and innovative to NEXA customers. This is the story of the creation, inspiration and passion behind NEXA:

Play

To know more about NEXA, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of NEXA and not by the Scroll editorial team.