On the one hand, the Punjab Kings, who are proud to have their 14th captain in the 16th season of the IPL, on the other hand, the Kolkata Knight Riders, who went through a mini-marathon for captaincy from Russell to Ringu due to Shreyas’ injury and finally announced Rana.
These two teams, who not only showed unity in fielding with new captains but also looked somewhat weak on-paper, clashed in the second league match of the current series held as a day-night match in Mohali.
Prabsimran Singh opened the innings with captain Shikhar Dhawan to give a formal reply to Rana, who won the toss, saying that the doubt was chasing. To start with two sixes and two fours in top gear, Southee dismissed him for 23 runs saying, ‘Asa is exhausted, this is enough for this match’. Sri Lankan action batsman Panukka Rajapaksa was the next to field.
The Punjab administration dropped him due to the arrival of Jonny Barristo, who had contributed many times in the last season. But Panukka has started this series very well. Panukka returned to the pavilion with a half-century to add 86 runs to his partnership with Dhawan for the second wicket.
Next up, it was Zimbabwe’s confidence man Raza who hit two massive sixes to send the South Africans out again. Soon Dhawan too was bowled by Varun Chakraborty. As the next batsman, Sam Karan walked onto the pitch with the pride of being the costliest player in IPL history. Having scored 100 runs for the loss of just one wicket in the first ten overs, it was an easy task for Punjab to cross the 200-run mark in Mohali, which is considered a great pitch to bat on. But,
In the second half, Umesh Yadav and Varun Chakraborty bowled well and controlled the Punjab batsmen. However, Punjab finished the innings on 191, with Shah Rukh hitting a few boundaries before the batsman hit a couple of sixes.
The runs scored by Punjab on this good batting track looked like a chaseable target for Kolkata. But the ever-present weather conditions forced the KKR batsmen to play with an eye on the Duckworth score. The start of the second innings was delayed by more than 20 minutes due to a problem with the lighting in the stadium. Arshdeep Singh dismissed Mandeep Singh in the second over with Afghanistan’s Gurbaz to start the game one-way. Venkatesh Iyer replaced Varun Chakraborty as the impact player when Ankul Roy returned to the pavilion in the same over. The score of the Kolkata team was 46-3 when Kurbas also walked into the powerplay.
For the next few wickets the Kolkata batsmen added 40 runs and 50 more runs to raise the score. But none of the batters had a special knock on an individual player that could have helped them touch the winning streak. Rain intervened with 45 needed off the last four overs.
Kolkata team was 7 runs behind in the Duckworth Par score. The Punjab Kings team has started the series with a win as the rain did not stop till the end.
This victory for the Kolkata team has to be examined not only by the players but also by some decisions of the management. A good batting track has kept Sunil Narine from opening, and the role of the batsmen is unclear – for example, Rana and Venkatesh are playing multiple roles. Also, considering the par score in this match, the team has missed the opportunity to drop Russell a little higher and accumulate runs. Let’s wait and see if Kolkata can rectify these issues in the match against Bengaluru at home.