Fast bowlers of Kolkata Knight Riders blew away Kohli, Gayle, De Villiers.

Pace and bounce opened the vulnerability of Kohli, Gayle, De Villiers.

On 23rd April, 2017, it was green top wicket in Eden Gardens. Chris Woakes, Counter Nile, Umesh Yadav, Grandhomme demolished, destroyed, humiliated RCB. Virat Kohli, Gayle, De Villiers surrendered before pace.

On 23rd April, 2017, Royal Challengers Bengaluru met Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 10th Edition in Eden Gardens. While Kolkata Knight Riders were bundled out for 131 runs, Royal Challengers Bengaluru faced the greatest collapse in the history of IPL to be all out for 49 runs. The fast bowlers of Kolkata Knight Riders namely Counter Nile, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes and Grandhomme did the magic. It was shock for RCB but brilliant performance for KKR.

Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to field first. Kolkata started well. Sunil Narine opened with Gautam Gambhir.

Sunil Narine smashed 3 boundaries and a sixer of the first over of Samuel Badree. But when the fast bowlers started bowling they got pace, bounce and swing. Gambhir got duped with a swing ball and got caught behind when the ball touched his gloves and went to wicket keeper Kedar Yadav. Gambhir 14 runs. After that Kolkata collapsed.

Sunil Narine went for 34 runs. But one after the other Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakant Yadav came and went. Chahal took 3 wickets while the other 2 spinners Badree and Negi showed great discipline. Aravind also bowled well.

Spectators thought RCB will win the match very easily. The drama started from there. There was some disturbance above the side screen of Eden Gardens. When the first ball was bowled to Kohli by Counter Nile, he got carried away by the movement of people above the side screen, played a wrong shot and got caught out at Gulley position. He scored a big duck and after returning to pavilion threw his bat and gloves. It was very unprofessional act on the part of Indian captain and RCB captain. If he had problem with the side screen disturbance he should have told the umpire and stopped Counter Nile from delivering the ball. After the ball was delivered all this melodrama was unnecessary and befitting for a batsman of the quality of Kohli. He still has to learn etiquette.

The ball started swinging and bouncing a lot. Counter Nile with great height extracted bounce and made life difficult for the RCB batsmen. De Villiers tried an extravagant shot, with 360 degree swing of bat. The ball instead just rose up by 90 degree and he was caught cheaply to the disappointment of RCB fans.

Kedar Yadav was also beaten by pace and swing and he played a false shot to get caught out. Counter Nile destroyed the top order taking 3 wickets. The other bowlers Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes and Grandhomme followed him and enjoyed bowling on green top wicket of Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

Gayle was the last hope. He stayed patiently for 17 balls. Firstly the bowlers kept bowling him at his feet thereby giving no room to free his shoulders. Now that he is in his late 30s, the reflex that he had 5 years ago, he is missing it now. So for fast swinging deliveries at the pace of 145 kilometers he missed and was beaten with pace for most of the balls. In some cases, he swung his bat with full power but the bat did not strike the ball.

After playing 17 balls and scoring 7 runs he got out. All hopes ended with his departure. If any batsman could have single-handedly won the match for RCB it was Gayle. The rest of the batting order shook, crumbled and fell apart in front of Counter Nile, Umesh Yadav, Grandhomme and Chris Woakes. No one could stop the collapse. All the players Stuart Binny, Chahal, Aravind, came in and returned back to the pavilion. None of the batsmen could reach double figures. RCB crumbled to 49 runs and got all out. It was new IPL record. None of the teams ever in the history of IPL had scored such meagre total. The pace exhibition was of such a quality that KKR did not have to bowl the ace spinners Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav.

It appeared to the spectators that West Indian pace battery of the early 1980s was at display in Eden Gardens. The same Eden Gardens saw Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Winston Davies at furious pace in the 1984 test match under Clive Loyad’s captainship against Indian batsmen. India could  not handle raw pace. Gavasker and Mohinder Amarnath scored ducks in the first innings. The other batsmen got hit a number of times and struggled including Anshuman Gaekwad, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kirmani and others. Only Roger Binny in the first innings and Ashok Malhotra in the second innings showed some resistance. In the second innings, India got bundled out for 90 runs and faced innings defeat. Kapil Dev’s team surrendered to West Indian pace.

This match will be remembered in the history of IPL for being the most low- scoring match. Both the teams were bundled out. Gautam Gambhir showed aggressive intent by keeping four slips in the match when Counter Nile, Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes were bowling. It is not even seen in test matches these days.

Cricket has become so batsmen friendly the spectators only see bowlers being hammered to different parts of the field and teams ending up with scores of 200 runs and more in the scheduled 20 overs. It was a total departure.

The other thing that was revealed was that the technique of modern day batsmen against fast bowling is at mess. They are less callibered batsmen who are so incapable that the curators and field makers help them by creating flat wickets. It is a shame that Virat Kohli is compared with the likes of Sunil Gavasker, Mohinder Amarnath, Gundappa Viswanath and others of the late 1970s. Gavasker, Amarnath, Viswanath had much better technique and the bowlers that they faced including Lillee, Thomson, Gilmour, Pascoe, Marshall, Garner, Holding, Roberts, Imran, Hadlee, Bob Willis, and others, will not be born again. So even if Virat Kohli scores 70 one day centuries and 50 test centuries, his technique is no where in match with the technique of Gavasker and others. One green top wicket of Eden Gardens had proved everything.

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