In the roar of the crowd and the nail-biting finishes this Indian Premier League season, a major radical revolution has largely gone unnoticed.
It’s a masterclass in cricket strategy by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), but some ill-informed critics are calling it “How to Lose Matches with a Winning Team.”
Forget about IPL, there are hardly any parallels to such radical approach ever deployed in the history of cricket!
The latest episode of that master class was on full display last night, when KKR captain Dinesh Karthik led from the front to snatch yet another epic defeat over hapless Rajasthan Royals.
The likes of Joffra Archer and teenage sensation Riyan Parag managed a sneaky 4-wicket win for Rajasthan over KKR, but that’s the whole point - KKR brilliantly showed how to snatch a fabulous defeat from the jaws of victory!
To begin with, KKR boasts one of the most explosive opening pairs this IPL - comprising Chris Lynn and ... (fill in the blanks as per your convenience).
Then there’s Shubman Gill. Having displayed his fortitude in batting anywhere in the order, that’s exactly what he is doing. Since he was number four in the previous match, he had to be the opener in his one. And certainly he will bat anywhere between 3 and 6 in the next one.
That reminds me of Andre Russell, who was promoted further up the order at number 7 last night. Since the man is capable of pulling off unheard of miracles, why not allow him to bat at number nine? 30 runs in 3 balls? Muscle Russell can surely chase it down.
Some mischievous detractors of KKR, Shah Rukh Khan and Dinesh Kartik have claimed Russell should bat at number four or five at the most, but pay no heed to such buffoons.
In any case, the World Cup-bound Karthik redeemed himself with a sublime 97, and Muscle Russell has also found a place in the West Indies squad.
Bowling is yet another master class.
Obviously, when you truly have the best spin attack of the entire IPL (Kuldip Yadav, Sunil Naraine & Piyush Chawla), and given that at least two of them will play most matches, who cares about what happens in the other 12 overs? You might as well give away 150 runs in those overs - just to show how your spinners can pull things back!
And when all else fails, turn to that all-season panacea called Rinku Singh. After all, he needs a few more matches (or seasons? Years?) in search of that elusive match-winning knock. But he’s almost there.
With six back to back losses, this is one of the best strategies to show how your team should dive from the top of the IPL table to the bottom of it - certainly the resistance from the other wannabes like RCB and Rajasthan Royals will not stand in the way of KKR’s downward march.
When the season started this IPL, the first clutch of KKR’s winning matches felt more like a romantic tribute to their beloved owner Shah Rukh Khan - think of King Khan serenading Kajol in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenege (DDLJ). Ever since then, however, the results have turned more towards Vijay and Shivani’s tragic tryst in Anjam - but then who doesn’t like it when saccharine romance turns to gothic horror?