Indeed, that is the irony of the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Bowlers shrugged after being hit for sixes because of the alarming regularity. Faces in the dugout looked unperturbed when the batting team was moving along at 10 runs an over. A barely-rational feeling of hope made its presence felt when nearly 20 runs were needed per over in the final five.
The DC innings was set up by consistent, power-packed performances by their Indian top order - each of Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer scored at a rapid pace. Iyer in particular batted at a different level, scoring 88 off 38 balls and exhibiting various gears in his game, while Pant too showed a glimpse of his hitting ability.
With the exception of an accurate and incisive Andre Russell, KKR's bowlers were taken to the cleaners, as even the accurate Shivam Mavi and Varun Chakravarthy had a bad day.
In reply, KKR started unconvincingly, but Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana had a fruitful partnership once again. Just when the match seemed out of KKR's grasp, especially after Russell's departure, KKR's new acquisitions this season showed their worth.
Eoin Morgan and Rahul Tripathi both played thrill-a-minute knocks, having no mercy even on the dangerous Kagiso Rabada, but both got out in the final two overs to effectively end KKR's hopes.
DC's bowlers, Anrich Nortje in particular, were aided by the slowness of the pitch, but also by a better reading of the conditions and the type of deliveries to bowl.
Here are three players who underperformed in the DC vs KKR IPL 2020 game.
#3 Pat Cummins (KKR)
Pat Cummins, like some other KKR bowlers, has had two excellent games with the ball, and two poor ones. In the first game, where he was frightfully expensive with the ball, he seemed to make up with some outrageous hitting with the bat. However, luck deserted Cummins as he could not contribute with bat either, with his lone contribution being an outside edge that evaded the keeper and ran for four.
Cummins was sent to open the innings with the ball. After bowling the first and third over, during which he was hit for boundaries and unable to scalp wickets, he was called upon to bowl the 14th and 17th overs of the innings.
It went from bad to worse for Cummins as the DD batsmen scored 17 off his final over, ensuring he finished with bowling figures of 4-0-49-0.
#2 Sunil Narine (KKR)
By dropping Kuldeep Yadav, who has been ineffective this season, KKR demonstrated their ability to be unemotional in their selections.
Given Sunil Narine's performance with the ball in this game, coupled with indifferent displays with the bat in all four games, there could be some tough calls made before the next game. At the very least, Rahul Tripathi's fantastic audition with the bat could mean a straight swap in the batting order for him with Narine.
Called upon to bowl two overs in the game, Narine showed very little of the nous and strategy expected from a bowler of his experience. He fed the ball into DC opener Shikhar Dhawan's zone twice in a row in the powerplay to go for sixes over midwicket.
In his next over, he conceded a single every ball except for one which Shreyas Iyer smashed over midwicket for six. With 26 runs given off his two, he was not called for a third. With the bat, his 3 from 5 left a lot to be desired in a towering chase.
#1 Dinesh Karthik (KKR)
What Dinesh Karthik can't be faulted for is his willingness to take the game upon his own shoulders - he has shown that in several games by inserting himself into the match when the going looks tough. Regardless of the match situation he has gone out to bat at, Karthik's form seems to be deserting him this season.
After a 30 in the first game to stabilize the team, Karthik has now accumulated a string of low scores. After a duck and a single run from his previous two innings, he took his own time getting in against the DC bowlers, as the required rate rose.
Just as Andre Russell top-edged one to be caught at deep third man, Karthik attempted an unconvincing slog against a stock delivery to be easily dismissed at mid-off, giving DC bowler Harshal Patel two in two. Karthik would be looking to up his game, as the KKR captain as well as as a player.
Published 04 Oct 2020, 01:44 IST