KKR, who had re-ignited hopes of a comeback in the tournament after a strong fight back in the last game, were back to their usual-self - being sloppy - as they struggled to 133 runs in the first innings. After that, it was a captain's knock from Samson, which helped Rajasthan win the game easily.
Where KKR lost the game
Of course, the powerplay. Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill batted so cautiously in the first six overs as if they were sent in to take the shine of the brand new cherry in a Test match. Ending up with 1/25 at the Wankhede was inexplicable and it's hard to decide what was more horrendous, making 5/45 against CSK or 1/25 today. After starting up this poorly, KKR were compelled to play the catch-up game, and they even miserably failed at that.
Kolkata's disastrous Powerplay
The Knight Riders took the adage of "Once bitten, twice shy" to a different level altogether when they just didn't turn up in the powerplay against the Royals. It was as if the RR pacers had exercised the ghosts of KKR's last encounter against CSK, where they were blown away like dust in the wind. But, for this masterclass of disaster powerplay batting, the whole credit goes to Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill as even they had no idea what they wanted to do in the middle. Well, having a set game plan has never been Kolkata's forte but today even the balls in the hittable slot-zone was treated as if a swinging delivery on a green mamba when it was nothing more than a challenging track, at best, in Mumbai. All that KKR managed to score was 1/25 in the first six overs with Rana scoring 12 off 17 and Gill struggling to 11 off 19 at a SR 57.89. As per Cricviz, in IPL history, "there have been only three instances of a side batting first at Wankhede Stadium, and scoring 25 runs or fewer in the Powerplay, all coming in losing causes." Eoin Morgan and co. really need to turn over a new leaf, as this, at the IPL level, is simply UNACCEPTABLE.
The rise of Chetan Sakariya
There are many youngsters in the domestic circuit who promise a lot but get exposed badly when they get to ply their trade in the IPL. But Chetan Sakariya, right from the first game, has looked like someone who belongs to the big stage. Not only does he boast some supreme skills - ability to move the ball both ways and a plethora of variations - but has a very good temperament. Learning on the go is crucial for players making transition to higher levels of cricket and he has ample of that. Take for instance, the 17th over of KKR's innings. Though stats would say that the 22-year-old went for 12 runs, but after overstepping the line on the first ball and getting smashed for a four, he didn't lose it, and kept on trying out his variations against the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell. There were slower balls on different lengths and also yorkers. After giving six runs on his first legal delivery, he made up for it, giving away just six off the remaining five, despite bowling two wides, showcasing a strong temperament. He's the second leading wicket-taker for Rajasthan, this year, with seven wickets in five games with an ER of 8.3. For eternity, the Royals have struggled for a quality Indian pacer or a second quality pacer in the line-up, but he's filling that and can do much more with his top-notch skills.
Jos Buttler's vulnerability against spin
After Ben Stokes was ruled out of the tournament, Jos Buttler, with a lot of reputation, replaced him at the top. But, he has failed to deliver, which has made RR's opening woes even more pronounced. He has averaged 17.8 after featuring in the first five games and is yet to make a fifty. Two of the last three times, he has got out to spin. Taking a good stride against spin always remains one of the keys to nailing down slower bowlers, however, Buttler has been playing the ball from the crease and has failed to reach the pitch of the ball before it spins and that has left him highly vulnerable. Despite making 49 against Chennai, that was the precise reason behind his dismissal. And today again, the Englishman was caught on the crease, not taking a stride forward against Varun Chakravarthy and that brought about his downfall. More than anything, it's about confidence and decisiveness that he's lacking at the moment and will need to address this issue quickly.
Time to replace Gill with Tim Seifert
"He's hoping to score but not wanting it", this is what Matthew Hayden had opined, on-air, watching Shubman Gill's struggle in the middle today. He went on to add how Gill's foot movement has been putting him off with his back-foot play requiring immediate changes. These issues with Gill aren't new as he was having these technical issues against England too in the home series. But the fact that he hasn't done much to address it, has been disappointing, which was the larger point of Hayden. Today, his 19-ball-11 was one of the worst IPL knocks that you would ever see, and there's a clear cut case of him needing to work on certain things before he can continue at the top. He's averaging 16, this IPL, and given how poor Kolkata have been, they will need to make some tough calls. New Zealand's Tim Seifert can be a great option at the top, and can come in place of Sunil Narine, who has been a pale shadow of himself for some time now. Seifert averages 39.5 in the powerplay overs and can provide the much needed solidity that's needed for the Knight Riders upfront.
Chris Morris. Four wickets and one run-out, you surely can't ask for more. Chris Morris had emerged as one of the best death bowlers, last year, and today, he picked up all his wickets at death, getting rid of the dangerous trio of Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik and Pat Cummins, and showed that he's as good at the fag-end as as IPL 2020. His strikes ensured that Kolkata were restricted to 133, setting up an easy win for his side.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Meh
Like seriously what's happening in this year's IPL? There have been either one-sided contests or ridiculously low-scoring games and today it was the turn of the former. Unlike last game, Kolkata didn't put up any fight whatsoever, and it turned out to be an easy triumph for the Royals as KKR put up a complete disaster with the bat. A forgettable game for one and all.