Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli must be frustrated at his team’s poor batting display on Monday night that saw them caving in for 92 in 19 overs batting first against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
However, on the other hand he must also be happy to see how Varun Chakravarthy bowled. A month before the T20 World Cup, the new mystery spinner of Indian cricket made his case for a place in the playing XI stronger by breaking the backbone of RCB and finishing with 3/13 from his four overs.
Kohli was candid in appreciating Chakravarthy. “That’s what I was saying in the dugout. He (Chakravarthy) is going to be a key factor when he plays for India,” he said after the match.
KKR, who need to win all their remaining seven matches to have some chance of making the playoffs, notched up a comfortable 9-wicket win as Shubman Gill (48) and debutant Venkatesh Iyer (41 not out off 27 balls) gave them a flying start to seal the issue quickly.
Opening the bowling for his side after Kohli opted to bat first, Chakravarthy got his line and length right from the word go. However, the stage was set up by another key KKR man: Andre Russell. The West Indian has always contributed for the side, either with the bat or the ball, and picked up two wickets in his second over to set the tone.
RCB debutant KS Bharat perished trying to pull the medium pacer, only to be caught by Gill at deep mid-wicket. Russell then claimed the prized wicket of AB de Villiers, who returned for a golden duck, unable to dig out a crashing yorker on the leg-stump.
Chakravarthy returned in the 12th over of the innings and struck on consecutive deliveries to put the death kneels on the RCB coffin. Varun got dangerman Glenn Maxwell out first when the Aussie missed the line going for a wild swing to be clean bowled.
The next ball, Chakravarthy had Wanindu Hasaranga trapped in front in his debut game. Sachin Baby became Chakravarthy’s next victim, caught at backward point by Nitish Rana.
The Tamil Nadu player had a ‘hand’ in Kyle Jamieson’s wicket too after a straight drive by Harshal Patel dislodged the stumps at the non-striker’s end, touching Chakravarthy’s fingers as Jamieson, backing up a long way, could not return in time.
The Bengaluru side was never in control, losing their skipper Kohli, making his 200th appearance for the side, in the second over being trapped in front by Prasidh Krishna. Only Devdutt Padikkal resisted for a while, but the left-hander did not last long against Lockie Ferguson.