New Delhi: Until the start of the eighth over in the RR innings, the visitors were cruising at super sonic speeds. They broke the sound barrier twice thanks to Jos Buttler's and Rahul Tripathi's assault in the 2nd and 3rd overs, collecting 47 runs in two overs to take RR to 74/1 after 7 overs.
Then came the crash. A fatal crash for RR. A few wrong decisions and their ship came tumbling down. And all of that in the space of just 6 overs. KKR spinner Kuldeep Yadav picked four wickets in his quota trading just 20 runs to ensure the hosts clawed back. Sunil Narine responded immediately with a wicket from the other end and KKR had their sights set on their seventh win.
For Kuldeep, the IPL hasn't been an overwhelming one so far. He has been economical in T20 standards but hasn't been among wickets. In the match against MI, he was hit for 43. But before the start of play on Tuesday, Kuldeep was seen flighting the ball and getting back to his strengths as a Chinaman.
In T20 format, a bowler tends to get into experiments and more so if one experiences an off-day. Kuldeep too was adding yards to his deliveries, killing all the loop and deception. The batsmen, as a result, lined him up and milked him without much fuss.
But on Tuesday, call it wise thinking or the need of the hour, Kuldeep went back in time and came out the old loopy Kuldeep he was. He bowled slow, gave the ball air making sure the flight was over the eye level of the batsmen. His first dismissal was that of Ajinkya Rahane, who displayed a poor shot selection and was castled playing a reverse sweep. Unable to keep abreast of the pace at which RR were cruising, Rahane fell looking to score of an unorthodox approach.
While that should have been alarming for RR, but they kept the cruise mode on and believed in experimenting. The consequences were in front of them to witness as Kuldeep soon consumed Jos Buttler, interestingly playing the reverse sweep. From 74/1 in 7 overs, RR were 92/3 in 10 overs. They had pegged themselves back.
The need of the hour was to stem the slide but Narine struck from the other end and consumed Sanju Samson off a successful review. 96/4.
Then Kuldeep, exuding confidence, produced the best ball of his quota as he flummoxed Stuart Binny with a brilliant googly. The ball came out off the back of the hand but Binny, unable to pick it up from the hand, was drawn into the drive and missed it completely. Dinesh Karthik clipped the bails in a flash. 100/5.
There were expectations from Ben Stokes but against spin, he has been a sitting duck. Kuldeep kept reducing his speed, pitched it up and waited for Stokes to err. And err he did. To a loopy legspinner, Stokes returned a simple catch back to continue RR slide.
Having started so well, RR suffered a steep slide and fell like a bunch of cards. Where RR would have been looking at at least 200, Kuldeep proved to be the tormentor and RR were left to rue a great start, getting out on 142.