Winning farewell for Pietersen
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers Bangalore
Player:SP Goswami, MV Boucher, A Kumble, MN van Wyk
Event:Indian Premier League 2009

DateLine: 29th April 2009


Kevin Pietersen had to wait till the second-last ball of the contest to see if Bangalore Royal Challengers would give him a winning farewell. It did come ultimately, the elusive win, but not before the Bangalore team had made heavy weather of it all, as Kolkata Knight Riders are now left holding the wooden spoon.


Pietersen showed some innovation on the field to ensure that Kolkata didn’t gut too many runs and just as well, since Bangalore still don’t believe they can win this, so it took them a lot of time to get to terms with that. They found confidence in new boy Sreevats Goswami who came in to bat with Jacques Kallis and set up 69 runs for the opening partnership.


Thereafter, the batting once again seemed to be getting caught in the same mire they have been struggling with as Brad Hodge’s part-time spin cost them three wickets, including that of Pietersen.


This is where the skipper leaves for the Test series with West Indies, which would leave Bangalore with a new challenge in terms of who would be captain. While team boss Vijay Mallya has named Kallis, there is still a lot of conjecture involved.


As for Kolkata, there is nowhere left to go but up, but somehow they don’t seem to be getting anywhere at all. There is little of the innovation shown by Pietersen, and Kolkata began bowing with the usual fast stuff, though Ishant Sharma was by far the best of the bowlers.


While this may be the change of fortune Bangalore are looking for, there is still a lot of cricket to be played in this tournament and one never knows where it all goes. But they won’t be worrying of that now.


Kolkata’s biggest problem is that all their batsmen are in the top half and if they fail, as they have been doing largely, there is precious little to hold them up towards the end of the innings. They also don’t have the power hitters like Yusuf Pathan down the order, since all their big-hitting is restricted to Chris Gayle.


It was Gayle again who was left with the job of keeping Kolkata afloat after Brendon McCullum’s tournament went from bad to worse, out first ball this time. The West Indian wasn’t half as aggressive as normal, but that had to do with the Bangalore tactics. He and Brad Hodge did try to get things going but it was evident that the Kolkata batting by surprise.


Pietersen’s tactics, given that it is almost a nothing to lose scenario for Bangalore, turned out to be brilliant. He began the bowling himself and it worked from the first ball. Then he deployed Roleof van der Merwe. In fact, the medium-pacers bowled just five overs in the innings, with Praveen Kumar sending down four of them.


Anil Kumble did the job Pietersen wanted of him, going for only 16 runs in four overs and picking up two scalps.


Kolkata have a lot to think about. With Gayle on his way soon to play the Test series in England, there seems to be absolutely no one who can be expected to keep getting the quick runs. South African Morne van Wyk did a great job of shoring up the middle-order but he really needs support on the other side. Wriddhiman Saha also tried to take up the mantle, but it is not the best line-up in the tournament.


As for the batsmen apart from Gayle, no one seems to have any clue as to how to go about this. McCullum is struggling, Sourav Ganguly is doing no better than fits and starts, and the middle-order is all lost. They will have a lot of thinking to do if they want to have anything more than passing interest in this tournament.